Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"But If Not"


Well, I've had an awesome week. I've learned much and we've also have had great success with our investigators. We had our Zone Conference and that was wonderful. President Skelton gave the missionaries an expectation that we should have a baptism once every two weeks, and that we should be teaching at least 70 people a week. It's a relatively high expectation, but I know that we can do it. The training focused on being able to teach more effectively. We were taught that if we really wanted to teach, that there were a few steps/attributes that we needed to develop.

Attribute #1: A willingness to seek and listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost
Without the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we can't achieve what the Lord would have us do!
Attribute #2: Be an example in obedience and humility
Such essential Christlike attributes.
Attribute #3: To have an earnest desire to learn
Can be applied in school or work too.
Attribute #4: To seek the Lord's help whilst preparing to teach
It's the only way, the Lord expects us to trust Him.
Attribute #5: To be able to bear witness of the truth
Have no fear when the Lord is on your side!

At the end, he summed it up by saying that as we follow these steps, we will be able to Define our expectation, Refine our expectation, and finally, Expect our expectation. I would go into more detail but then it would get way too long. Anyhow, in another talk, an Elder mentioned a statement that I thought was inspiring. He said that we need to forget ourselves and make our purpose, our Master's purpose. We really do need to see and understand what our Master's purpose is so that we can really do what He would have us to, and help Him bring back His children into His arms. In the afternoon. the Assistants to the President trained us on using Principles of Power (POPs) found in Pg. 178-179 of the missionary manual, Preach My Gospel, to achieve CHOPS (Chains of Spiritual Experiences). We have tried it out these past few days and we have had amazing results with it.

Oh, random note: do not eat two and a half MacDonald's' burgers and an apple pie for lunch or you'll feel really unwell (we had that and pizza for lunch at the Zone Conference).

Anyhow, we've taught a few people that we are having great progress with. Elder Pace made contact with a Malaysian Chinese lady named Yook Kuan. We were able to teach her, with the help of a recently returned missionary named Glen Lewis. He has been helping us out with many of our appointments. When we taught her on Saturday, she was able to understand what we taught her but she still didn't seem too sure of what we had taught. We persuaded her to attend Church with us the next day, and I believe that it went well. Before I go on to the rest of Sunday, well, we had a wonderful experience Saturday evening. Elder Pace and I had had been given a referral from Brazil a few days ago, and we had decided to visit the family soon, but we weren't able to go day after day because our schedules got too full, so we put it off on Thursday, then Friday, then Friday day. We finally trudged our way into the family's neighborhood on Saturday. We got a little lost, but finally found our way there. When we got to the house and announced ourselves, we weren't sure what kind of reaction we were going to receive. We were extremely happy with the reception that we got. The family invited us in, sat us down, and talked to us, talked about them, and us, and the Church, and they fed us dinner. It turns out that the lady's boss was a former mission president in Brazil, and she had been attending Church all the times that she had gone back to Brazil for visits. It was a very uplifting experience, because the parents said that they wanted to make the commitment to start going to Church frequently, and their kids were excited about it too. They turned up at Church early on Sunday, and we were able to pass them on to the expatriate ward Elders.

As for Yook Kuan, the best thing that happened after Church on Sunday is that we were able to sit with her, and three returned missionaries (RMs), including Glen, who did a wonderful job answering her questions. I really felt the Spirit in the room as we answered her questions and taught her more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. That moment are the ones that I really want to have more in my mission, when you know that every person in the room has their eye single to the glory of God.

Right after that lesson, we taught a member's boyfriend. His name Jun Ying, and he's a 16 year old kid. Anyhow, we were able to share with him the message of the Restoration, and we explained to him why there are so many Churches on this Earth, and how we believe that God has sent a Prophet back to Earth to lead and guide his people. The lesson went wonderfully well, and the best part about that lesson was that he was willing to pray at the end of the lesson. To us, an investigator willing to pray in front of us is a big indicator in showing that he or she is progressing. Sunday really was just a great day. Later on in the afternoon, we met up with Ming Lee. We showed him the video The Restoration, which is a reenactment of Joseph Smith's story. He didn't seem too moved by the video, but at the end, he still gave a shot at praying so that was wonderful. After we were done with the lesson, we asked him if he had anything to do, and he didn't. So, we gave him a tour of the Church, and then persuaded him to go with us over to a member's home for dinner. The members fellow shipped him really well, and we are hoping that that has made an impact on him and that he will be comfortable attending Church with us now.

Monday wasn't the best day, first of all, because it was Monday, and on Monday, no one ever really wants to talk. On Tuesday, we taught my Aunt in the early afternoon, band she seemed really receptive and had a lot of questions, and hopefully we answered them well. We spent the next few hours walking around, trying to look up inactive members in Toa Payoh, which really wasn't successful and hot, and we didn't have time to have dinner before our next appointment, so we were pretty annoyed and tired. As missionaries, we are together 24/7, so it can get pretty crazy at times, because you're always with the same person! But, our last appointment turned the day around. It was a great way to end the day. Our investigator for the evening was a lady from China named Linda. She has been taught by many missionaries, but she never really understood them because they rushed through the lessons. We we able to go through a lesson with her at a slower place and spent much time explaining the principles to her. At the end of the lesson, she prayed, and... she accepted a baptism date! It's set for August 16th, so we're definitely hoping and praying that it will go through!

We had a great district meeting yesterday, where we learned that the Lord really does expect us to trust Him, to put our trust in His arm and not in the arm of flesh. Faith is both a belief and an action word. We need to believe then act on it! In the Book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego showed what kind of trust and faith that we have to have in the Lord . In Daniel 3:14-18, it reads:

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

What faith!

Anyhow, that's all for the week! Take care! :)

Well, here are a couple of photos for your viewing pleasure! Finally! Have an awesome week! Do write letters or leave a comment on the blog if you have time!

National University of Singapore Cultural Center

Dinner at the Petersen home for an early birthday celebration (July 3rd)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"I Know That My Redeemer Lives"


Had a pretty decent week! It rained quite a number of days so that hindered our work. When it rains, no one is ever out. Well, I guess that is common sense. Anyhow, we aren't allowed to contact in shopping malls either so we were pretty tied down. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I had an allergic reaction to something, and I broke out in hives right around my neck and my arms/hands, so we had to stay in for a couple of days. Never had an allergic reaction to anything before, and what with the whole episode last week, it's been a bit tougher. Well, I guess Satan's just trying his luck, or the Lord's letting me have some fun. Either way, I'm definitely far off from what Job had to go through. That reminds me, in district meeting last week, we talked about Job and the trials that he went through. The amazing thing is that Job never doubted the Lord, and I hope that I can come close to having that kind of faith someday. Even after losing all his property, and having his whole family killed, he said in Job 1:20-22, and I quote:
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
How often we blame the Lord for the misfortunes that fall upon us, when they really are for our own good, and how often we, well, I forget how much He has given me.

Well, spent a couple of hours this week, rehearsing for Zone Conference. I'm signing a beautiful arrangement of I Know That My Redeemer Lives by Michael R. Hicks. The music is so beautiful that I almost don't want to sing it, I might destroy the piece! Wish me luck!

We went over to the Bishop's home on Thursday. Bishop and his wife were and are still out of town, but his son and wife had us over. They also invited over a member and her boyfriend, Aravin. Aravin has been coming to Church for a few months now, but never had had the time to listen to a missionary discussion. We were able to teach him a lesson this time, and he was really receptive. His job is physically dangerous, as he works as an oil rig inspector. He talked of how he was still trying to find his place in this world, and what the purpose of life is. It was wonderful to be able to teach him about the Plan of Salvation. I am so grateful to know that we do indeed have a purpose in life on this Earth, that we are here because we followed Heavenly Father's Plan, and, if we live worthy of all that He teaches us, we can live with Him and our families forever. Eternal families! :D Life can be so hard and exhausting, especially when we have school and work. But, if we just give our lives to the Lord ands trust in Him, the blessings are endless! I love knowing that!

On Saturday, we had two child-of-record baptisms, which means they were baptized right at the age of accountability, at eight. It was great to see these two young girls put their faith and trust in the Lord. Both families had invited a bunch of non-member friends so we were able to teach a few of them. Also, Elder Pace and I were privileged to be invited to participate in their conformations, to confirm members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and give them the Holy Ghost. How wonderful it is to be able to hold the priesthood of God and exercise it. I hope that we soon get some convert baptisms as we work for them!

We went over to a part-member home for dinner. The wife, Sister Ai Lin, and her children are members, but Ronald, her husband is not. Her sister, Candy, also a member, came over with her husband and kids. Unfortunately, her husband also isn't a member. Anyhow, we still had a great time over there, and we were able to share a message on eternal families! Ah, I guess we keep teaching it, and I keep mentioning that concept because it is so amazing and true! They both have great conversion stories! It turns out that Candy's ex-colleague, who is a member of the Church, introduced her to it. She was converted, and after that, she too converted her sister. From one member's work, eight people came into the Church!

On Tuesday, we met again with Ming Lee, the referral from Salt Lake. We taught him a portion of the Plan of Savation. We'll review the resoration with him next time. I thought that we had a great lesson with him because I felt the Spirit so strongly. Sure, when we teach, it's great and all, but with the Hokt Spirit there, that is what really makes the difference. I think, and I sure hope that he felt that too. We, as missionaries, are only messengers from God. We share His message, but it is the Holy Spirit that testifies of the truthfulness of the gospel.

Bumped into one of my grade-school friends last week that I haven't seen in years. We are going to teach him, and hopefully something comes out of that. I have bumped into so many of my friends, so it can be pretty distracting at times, but I do my best to focus on the Lord's work. Sometimes, I definitely slack off on getting ready on time and all that, but I'm trying to do what the Lord would have me do, building dicipline, but most of all, developing and understanding what true obedience is.

Well, we had dinner another member's home last night. Brother and Sister Chiu are an awesome couple, with great kids. We had Elder and Sister Shute, our ward's senior couple with us too. Elder Shute left the spiritual message for the day, and he talked about an experience that he had when he was the mission president in Apia, Samoa, where Elder Packer, Elder Groberg and him had to ride very rough seas to get to the organization of a new stake of the Church. Elder Shute was called as a mission president at age 35! He is a wonderful man who has much experience and knoeledge. In short, he talked about how we need to follow the light of the gospel to guide us out of the rough seas of life so that we can return into the safe harbor of the Lord. You can read about it in his book, Under A Bright Samoan Sun. The just reminded me of how much we have to depend on the Lord and place our trust in Him.

Anyhow, we have our Zone Conference tomorrow! Had my interview with President Skelton today. He is an amazing man and a wonderful servant of the Lord. I have so much respectv and love for him. Today, we have an all-day preparation day! Going to take a nice nap soon! It's definitely a nice break, but we'll be contining on in the work of the Lord!

I just want to leave with you this week, my simple testimony that I do indeed know that my redeemer lives, that he died for our sins, that by Him, worlds without number were created. I know that he was resurected on the third day, and that we too can be resurrected because of his sacrifice. I know that he came down to this Earth, though He didn't have to, that as the Son of the Living Lord, he condecended Himself to be as man. I know that as we keep His commandments, and do as he would have us do, that we can "be encircled about eternally in the arms of his love" (2 Nephi 1:15).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"The Nine Society"


Well, this week was wonderful, mainly because I learnt much about myself and about the gospel.

On Thursday, Elder Pace went down to the gym to work out, so I sat outside the door waiting for him. A couple of the security guards there asked me to move, but I really didn't want to. Elder Pace came out of the gym and we were pretty rude to them, though they let me stay where I was. As I was sitting there reading about the life of Christ, I realized just how un-Christlike our actions had been, so I went up to them and apologized. As Elder Pace and I were going back up to our apartment, we talked about how we were natural men, which immediately got me thinking about how, as King Benjamin said in the Book of Mosiah, that we have to be as children, submissive, meek, and humble. If not, we will not be able to enter into the Kingdom of God.

I was sick the most of last week, so we weren't able to go out much. But, we were able to teach one of the security guards in our complex. It seems to me that the Lord gives us opportunities to teach no matter what situation we are in.

Over the past week, I have had some differences with my companion, and have had some hard times. On Sunday, while sitting in Sacrament, I was brooding over my problems. I said a short prayer, and was still thinking when, in my own mind, I heard a voice saying "Why aren't you more obedient?" Oh, that was a huge wake-up call for me. I started thinking about all the things that had been doing on my mission, and I have come to realise how important obedience is. Our mission motto is "Obedience in Exactness," and I never really paid attention to it. Over the years in Church, I have heard over and over again how we have to be obedient, but I guess it's always bounced off my head. Only now have I come to understand that obedience is indeed "the first law of Heaven." If we aren't obedient, we cannot have the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion because the Spirit isn't going to be with someone who doesn't listen. The Lord expects us to be obedient so that he can bless us, and, as we see that, continue in that wonderful cycle of obeying the Lord's commandments and feeling of His Spirit and love for us.

An incident with one of our investigators taught me much this week. The first thing that I came to understand is how important and blessed we are to have families. Our parents love us so much, but at times, or, much of the time, we fail to see just how much they love us, and how much the Lord has blessed us to have parents who care for us and want us to grow to be good people. I have seen just how much my parents have sacrificed for me, and I am so grateful for their love and care for me over the years. The other thing that came to mind was how different a life can be if a person does not have the gospel in his or her life. Without the gospel, life can seem so meaningless. I was able to see firsthand how tough life can be without the gospel. Our investigator talked about how life was so hard. He said that the world was confusing and chaotic, and how it seemed that he was alone in this world. He talked of the disasters and wars in the world, and how he couldn't understand why this was happening. As I pondered on it later on, I realised that with the gospel, we know our purpose in life. We know that we are Children o9f our Heavenly Father who loves us. We know that man has his agency to choose between right and wrong. We know that as we trust in the Lord that all will be well. We know that as we place our hand on the arm of the Lord, that we can be guided. We know that this life is but a small moment in eternity, that as we strive to obey the commandments of the Lord and keep His covenants, that we can live with our families forever. Most of all, we know that the Lord is always watching over us, that He knows us and loves us, that nothing in this world matters as long as we have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Yesterday was wonderful. In district meeting, we talked of gratitude. We read through the story of the ten lepers, and our distract leader mentioned something that John Bytheway had said about how there are two societies that we can be in. One is "The Nine Society" while the other is "The One." Ten of the lepers were healed. Nine never returned to thank the Lord, but the one did. How important it us to be grateful, especially to our parents and to the Lord, who have given us all that we have. I hope to always be in "The One," to always remember to thank the Lord for our blessings and knowledge of the gospel. Throughout the rest of the day, we were able to get much contacting done, and we went over to a member's home and teach her family, who are non-members. Our last appointment was with a referral from Salt Lake. The referral's name is Ming Lee. It turns out that he had been in Utah for five months for training. Over the course of those months, many of his co-workers, who were members of the Church, fellow shipped him. They showed him love and care, they shared their beliefs and taught him the gospel. He was able to watch the movie on Joseph Smith in the Legacy Theater. He said that he felt "nice" when he watched it. Member missionary work is so important, and by our examples, we can bring others to Christ.

I hope this didn't sound like a sermon. I will definitely try to include more on our daily activities next week. Please write! I would love to receive letters!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Open Thy Mouth Wide"


We had two visa-runners over this week, Elders Parrot and Etable. They are both really cool. Elder Etable is a Filipino from Sabah and Elder Parrot is half Caucasian, half Polynesian from New Zealand. Having visa-runners over can be fun. This mission is unique in the sense that most of the Elders and Sisters have to go on a trip every three months so that they can return with a new visa stamp, so they have to leave their area for a few days.

Anyhow, it's been a good week. On Thursday, we were walking to Church when we passed a guy who was looking at us in a weird way, so I stopped and talked to him. It turned out that he was a naval diver stationed in Asia, a former member of the Church who was ex-communicated a year or so ago. My heart went out to him, he seemed to be in his early twenties, and he told us of his struggle of whether or not to return to the Church. I gave him a card with the Church address on it and invited him to return. Meeting him that day has made me all the more thankful for the atonement of the Savior. How wonderful and beautiful the sacrifice of Christ. If not for him, all of us would have no way to return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven. As a missionary, I have felt the love for people around me increase, and I love that increase of feeling and emotion in me, as I strive to be like the Savior. There really is no way that we can keep the gospel to ourselves when we see how much it has changed us, and how we can help others to change for the better and come to understand the great plan of happiness that each of us can come to understand and enjoy.

We had a great 4th of July! We had a couple of great lessons. First, we taught these two Filipinos who were referrals. Rosanna has met withe the missionaries before while Emma hasn't. They were both very receptive and seemed to understand the plan of salvation. After that, we met up with Cajan, a Sri Lankan who I met a couple weeks ago with Elder Grant, and whom Elder Pace and Elder Hatton, our district leader, taught while we were on exchanges. The main focus of our lesson was to show him The Restoration video, which we did. The difference was that we watched it in Tamil, not English. As we watched the video, I marveled at just how just and true and beautiful and unique The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is. We were sitting in a room in Singapore, with a Sri Lankan, an American and a Singaporean watching a video about a young boy who saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And, we were watching it in Tamil. How wonderful the gospel of Jesus Christ is. It transcends cultures and languages, and reaches out to reach out and touch the children of God, to tell them, to teach them that the Lord has called prophets and apostles once again, to lead and direct His church, and organized the same way as it was when Christ was on this Earth. I felt the Spirit as we sat in that room that day, because it really doesn't matter what language we speak or what our background is. We are all children "of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him." We ended the day with a wonderful 4th of July celebration by having a barbeque, and fun and games at the mission home. It was very fun and a nice break to have. We watched a LikenIt movie, David and Goliath, that's a musical movie. It was amazingly spiritual and I learnt much from it. In one of the songs, David is singing while he is picking pebbles from the brook to use against Goliath, and he sings about how we are all stones in the Lord's hands. The Lord calls many put few are chosen, and that we need to prepare ourselves, to smoothen and refine ourselves so that we can be used as the Lord would have us to be used, to stand on His side, and follow His command. The movie and the music was wonderful, and I would encourage all to get it!

Sunday was my birthday! I'm 20 now! Old! But, I did have a great few days. On Thursday, we went over to the Petersens for dinner, and they baked for me my favorite Banana Cream Pie! We had a good time at Church and we had three investigators come! That is the most we've had since I've been on my mission! We went over to the Iths for dinner, where we had great food and a cake! On Monday, we went over to yet another home, the Lims, where I had a light Japanese cheesecake! Ah, how time flies. The mission has been and will continue to be an amazing experience. I know that I will have fun times, but also days that are hard and long. But, I am in the service of Him who has felt all our pains and sorrows, and I know that he will lift me up and help me as I strive to do His work with all my heart, might, mind and strength.

Yesterday, I couldn't breathe properly and felt that I had some heart palpitations so I went to the doctor. Had to do a bunch of tests and I am on a twenty-four hour monitor. I'm sure that all will be well. We had a great district meeting where we talked about how we can overcome our fears to talk to people, about how we can open our mouths and spreqad the word of the gospel. In Psalms 81:10, it reads:
I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy
mouth wide, and I will fill it.
As we declare the word of God, we will build our testimonies, and the Lord will fill our mouths with His gospel.

I love the Lord for the marvelous blessings He has given me. I was reading the insert in the Ensign about President Hinckley yesterday. How I miss his words of kindness and cousel. I love and respect him. How I hope that as I strive to follow his example, I may draw closer and be more like Christ, increasing "in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"What Could I Have Done More?"

Ni Hao!

This week has been great! Full of challenges, fun, and learning opportunities. I finished up with Elder Grant (the visa-runner) on Thursday. Learned a lot from Him, mostly how to talk to people in different situations. A more important lesson that I learned is how to work with different people with different personalities and who work in different ways with various people. I was very grateful to have Elder Pace as my companion. We get along well.

Last week, we had a really good district meeting. I learned a lot from it. The lesson that we were taught was about separating the what from the tares, and, one scripture that the district leader used was from Jacob 5:41. The allegory is that of the master of a vineyard who said,
"And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the
servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?"
I have pondered much on that scripture since, about what more I could be doing for the Lord as his missionary. It moves me to know that the Lord weeps over his children, and hoe much pain and grief he suffers as He sees his children following different paths on the Earth. As missionaries and as members, we can help our Savior by following the revelation given in Doctrine & Covenants 4:2-3.
"Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him
with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless
before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye
are called to the work;"
We can do so much more for the Lord. Serving Him with all out heart, our might, mind and strength is what we can do, to help bring his Children back to Him, so that he can shed one less tear, one less moment of grief as one of his sheep return to the fold.

We receive referrals from Salt Lake which normally never really work out. However, it worked out this week! Most of the referrals that we receive have fake numbers and addresses. The two that we received were real! We were able to visit both places, one who wasn't too interested. But, we were able to place a Book of Mormon in his house. Sometimes, it really just is about planting the seed. The other referral worked out great! We went to the house, where we found out that the people who had filled out the form were still in the States. But, we were able to teach their daughter, who was pretty receptive to what we taught. We set a return appointment and were ready to go. Unfortunately, we received a call from the girl's Mom, who had been in the States with her husband. She said she had no interest in hearing discussions. She just wanted to read the book. But, we were able to talk to her daughter who doesn't mind listening more. She seems to be open-minded to religion so hopefully that works out!

We had a decent weekend contacting, and Sunday rolled around. Priesthood and Relief Society had a combined class since it was the fifth Sunday of the month. Elder Shute, one half of a Senior couple, conducted some training. Just a quick note on Elder Shute. At a very young age, he was called as a mission president, then a temple president. He has served as a regional representative and has served in many capacities in the Church, so he is very well versed and trained in the gospel and the Church. He gave a lesson on working on reactivation of members and retention of new converts. Unfortunately, a member was offended and walked out. How sad it is to see members who are offended by another member and who never return to the blessings of the gospel. How trite it is. Elder Shute talked much on forgiveness. He told a story of a prominent woman in the Church who was found guilty of adultery. Because of the prominence of the woman and her family, President Kimball, then President of the Church, took it upon himself to preside over her disciplinary council. They went through the motions, the woman was found to be guilty and excommunicated from the Church. A few weeks later, President Kimball was asked to give a talk in his home ward, and it so happened that the woman and her family lived in that ward. After he had finished his talk, he shoved his way past the people who were greeting him, found the women, and gave her a huge hug, telling her that he loved her. What a profound message, that we are to love one another no matter what the circumstance. We need to reach out top the new converts and to the less actives. Elder Shute talked of three things that everyone in the Church needs. 1. A friend 2. A responsibility and 3. To be nourished by the good word of God. We can provide much of number one and help them with number three.

On an amusing note, we were studying in the morning when the doorbell rang. We had no idea who it was so Elder Pace went to get the door. When he looked through the peephole, he wasn't sure whether to open the door. Eventually, Elder Nixon did. What we saw was, how would you put it? Spectacular. There was a Japanese man standing at our door in his white briefs trying to cover himself with a newspaper. Apparently, he had locked himself out of his apartment while trying to get the newspaper. So, Elder Nixon lent him a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. After he had left, we were laughing when the doorbell rang. It was the man again, asking if we had a piece of string to tie the shorts together because it was too loose. The man was gracious enough that night to return the clothing, along with a cheesecake.

Went on my first exchange. Elder Pace went with Elder Hatton, the district leader, while I went with Elder Haycock. It was a fun experience, though I spent half the day with another Elder who needed to go to the doctor and the dentist. There are a few missionaries who are returning home today. They are done with their missions! One of them, Elder DeWitt, has actually lived in Asia for awhile so we know a lot of the same people! I can't believe how time must fly and I can't imagine what it will be like when I'm done with my two years! Today is the month anniversary for me being out in the field.

I have learned much in this past month, more about the gospel and life, how to deal with different people and different situations. But, most of all, I have learned to depend, trust and lean on the arm of the Lord. How wonderful it is to know that he is always there. I have come to realize just hoe important my parents are to me, how I love them and cherish them. They have taught me much in life, and have raised me to their best of their abilities.

Well, need to go on with preparation day! There are things to be done!

Do write!