Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"The Trick"

Magandung Umaga! (Good morning in Tagalog)

Well, we had a pretty great week! On Wednesday evening, we were able to meet up with Lacey Nymeyer, an LDS swimmer who is participating in the Olympics. It was awesome to see that our Church members are doing so well all around the world, no matter where they are. The Lord truly blesses His people as they obey His commandmemts and heed His command.

On Thursday, we met up once again with Jun Ying at his girlfriend's home. We were able to show him the video of The Restoration. At the end of it, he said that it was "cool." I'm guessing that in teenage lingo, it means that it was great and that he liked it. The family invited us to stay for dinner, so that was really good, as we were able to talk to Jun Ying in a normal setting, instead of just always in missionary discussions. I have come to realize that with investigators, you can't just keep bombarding them with the gospel. Rather, you have to be their friends too, because they really aren't just another baptism statistic. The people who we teach, and the people all around us are all children of God! In the evening, we met up with Ming Lee, our referral from Salt Lake. Glen Lewis, the recently returned returned missionary, helped us to teach the lesson. We thought that it went really well. We also found out that one of his colleagues is a member of the Church. The member met up with us at Church on Sunday and offered to host us and Ming Lee the next time we taught him, so we'll be doing that tonight. We are going to the Woodlands, where my high school is, so it's going to be nostalgia hitting me from all over, especially if I end up bumping into some friends.

On Friday, we went over to Elder and Sister Shute's place for lunch. If I haven't mentioned it before, they are vegetarian, and the food that they make is absolutely delicious. If they cooked for us everyday, I really do think we could go vegetarian! As such, I've been trying to eat healthy. No more sweets, and definitely no sodas. I now give Elder Pace my dessert, and he gives me the Asian food that he doesn't like to eat. It's definitely a fair deal. Well, in my opinion at least. After that, we went over to the Church to teach my grade school friend, Alex, again. We showed him The Restoration video and discussed it for a short while. In the evening, we were able to meet with Alex Oon, one of our star investigators. We taught him about the steps needed to follow in Jesus Christ's footsteps, and challenged him to be baptized. He accepted the date for August 23rd! Unfortunately, he couldn't make it to Church on Sunday so we might have to push it back a week or two.

Saturday was the ward talent show! That was fun to watch and we had a great time with the members' performances. There was a whole range of those performances, from a Hokkien (Chinese dialect) to a hilarious skit by the Petersen boys. Brother Edward Cheo, the Ward Assistant Mission Leader, also invited an acapella group comprising of his ex-students to perform for us. They did a great job, and hopefully we will have time to teach them sometime. We also had a couple of investigators there, so that was great! After that, we grabbed a quick dinner, then met up with Bao, a Vietnamese man who is studying International Law at the National University of Singapore (NUS). It took a bit of work understanding and teaching him, but I believe that we got the point across, and we'll be teaching him again in Saturday.

We got off to a great start on Sunday! On the MRT (train) ride to Church, I struck up a conversation with a lady from Indonesia named Priscilla. She converted to Christianity a year ago and was heading to her Church. I talked to her about the Restoration, and asked her if she wanted to come to Church sometime. She said she was going to be baptized in the other Church in a month. Talked with her awhile more, then asked her if she just wanted to come to Church with us for the day instead. Surprisingly, she said Yes! And she did, she told us after that that she had had a great time. We are working on having her come to our Church from now on. In Priesthood meeting, we talked about perfection and the steps to attaining it. More often than not, we often think that we need to be perfect, instant perfection, much like instant gratification. What we learned was that the thing to realize is that we can't all instantly reach perfection. We learn bit by bit. We have to learn the scales before we can compose a symphony, we have have to know our colors before we can paint a work of art. In the same way, life is a journey where we learn through mistakes and experiences, and the gospel, to strive to reach perfection. President Hinckley loved to quote Jen Lloyd Jones, where he said that
"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time
running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts
don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just
ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual
toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.... "Life is
like an old-time rail journey -- delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and
jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts
of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
We went home to have our scripture study and rest, then we went over to Brother Cheo's home for dinner where we got to make our own popiah, a local "wrap." They also invited over the Low's, another family from the ward that I really like. We had a wonderful time over there. The Cheo's and Low's are going to Malaysia on Saturday since it's Singapore's National (Independence) Day and it's a three-day weekend. We joked about going and they asked us if we wanted to come! Unfortunately, we had to tell them we weren't allowed to. Both familes are really fun to be around and we always have a great time over there. After dinner, we went around in a circle and bore our testimonies, then we shared a quick message with them. I love how fun can be combined with spiritual things. They do no t have to be separate. Religion does not denounce fun and humor, rather it just calls for respect and reverence when required, and good humor when the occasion calls for it.

On Monday, we went Arcadia Road to contact a referral from Melanie Tidwell, one of the members who used to live in Singapore. She had talked to her neighbors about the gospel and desired that we share more with them. Unfortunately, they weren't home, so we left a note and a pamphlet. While we were walking there, there was a noise in the trees. Elder Pace freaked out and screamed, which shocked me also. We started booking it in the opposite direction from where we were going. It was hilarious, something you see in the movies but never think that it'll happen to you. After that, we were able to meet up with A lex, my grade school friend, once again. This time, we taught him about The Plan of Salvation. He is an intelligent kid, so intelligent in fact, that we covered topics such as the Millennium, which we normally never cover until they are much further in the lessons, or have already joined the Church. Once again, he said that he could see the structure and sense in it, but he still says that he isn't really into organized religion. He has been reading from The Book of Mormon though, and he has been praying about it. I guess that we can only hope and pray that the Spirit of the Lord will touch his heart. In the evening, we headed to the Petersen home home for dinner. They are an expatriate family that has been assigned to a local ward to build it up, but they might be moving back to the expat ward soon. We'll definitely miss them, both for the amazing food that they always make for us (they let us request what we want to eat!) and also their company and friendship.

On Tuesday, we had our last district meeting with our current district leader(DL), Elder Hatton. He is being transferred to Kuching in East Malaysia. He has done an amazing job as a district leader. His lessons were always inspirational and amazing, and I hope that our new DL will live up to his standard. In this week's lesson, we talked about being "among the prophets." In the Book of Samuel in the Bible, it was asked of King Saul, whether or not he was "among the prophets." The answer is yes. What Elder Hatton was leading up to was that in our own way, we are all "prophets" in our own right. As we live worthy of the priesthood authority that we hold, we can receive revelation for ourselves, and the people we have stewardship over. As missionaries, we hold stewardship over the areas that we serve him. Our duty is to be obedient in exactness, to be diligent in the work that we do. As we do so, we can be in our own way be numbered "among the prophets."

Headed to Subway for our last lunch with Elder Hatton (for awhile at least). I got a wrap for the first time instead of bread. It wasn't too bad, but I would recommend just staying with the bread instead of getting the wrap. We met up with Marleney, a recent convert, to review with her the things that she was taught before baptism. She had some questions that run into deep doctrine, about the concept of Heavenly Parents and so forth. While we tried to explain it to her, she just couldn't seem to accept it, and so we counseled her to do what always works if we do it in faith. We told her to pray, to ask God if what we taught her is true. In a very real sense, all that we learn in Church really can only be testified and confirmed to us by the gift and power of the Holy Spirit of the Lord.

Anyhow, in the evening, we headed back to the apartment at Arcadia Road, as I mentioned earlier. We bumped into a helper who used to live next to another LDS family, and she was very friendly. We were able to get her contact. When we got there, we knew that they were home, but it took them awhile to open the door for us. When we asked for the two people whose names we had, the lady who answered the door said that they had no idea who we were talking about, in a rude way, though their last name was tiled on the wall in their front porch area. We left disappointed and frustrated, especially since we had walked all the way down this long road to get to them. But, the Lord blesses his servants, I believe, if they do his work with faith and diligence. When we got into the elevator, there was a friendly Nicaraguan lady in there, who said that she had seen us before in Nicaragua, and had learned a little before. We asked if she wanted to learn again, but she said that she was a very staunch Catholic. After chatting for a couple more minutes, she agreed to meet. She was a great person to talk to, because she said she didn't mind learning about what we taught, and seemed pretty excited about it! We had am little more time, so we decided to walk a distance of three or four bus stops before we took the bus home, and to see if there was anyone to teach. There was a young man who ran past us, but after a few minutes started running back towards us again. So, as he passed us, I started my first running contact. As the three of us ran, I taught him the first lesson about the restoration of the gospel. It was really fun, and the best part about it was that he was actually listening and responsive to it. We were able to get his number, and hopefully we will be in contact with him soon. The best part of the day is that we ended up with fifteen other people/lessons taught!

As I said, we had a great week! I learned much and grew spiritually. I have been shrinking physically, having lost about 8-9 pounds since the start of my mission. Well, got to head off! Do send a letter or a blog comment if you have the time! Thanks for reading! Take care and Godspeed!

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