Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teaching The Principle

Yet another epic week, we’ve been doing good. We’ve been leading the zone these couple of weeks, as office elders! It’s been fun to get so much work done, but of course, it really is because the Lord has blessed us so much, he’s been very kind in allowing us to meet some of His chosen children.

Met up with Ember, an investigator that Elder Taiamoni passed to us. He’s a really nice man from Myanmar who seems to want to seek the truth and goodness in life. Humility really is the key to accepting the gospel. We were able to set a baptism date with him, so that was definitely a plus. The problem for him and many of our investigators, though, is that they are constantly tied up with work. I had no idea that people could be so caught up in all that mess that seems to steal away the true meaning and purpose of our lives.

We went over to a member’s home for dinner on Thursday, and had a great time. They had one of their nieces over there, who isn’t a member, and we were able to teach her a lesson on the restoration of the gospel. When we got there, it turned out that the member’s husband had to rush off because another member had passed away and he was the only member of the Bishopric available. So, we were stuck with having no man in the home. The rules state that we cannot be in a home/room alone with women, no matter how many of them there are. We were trying to think of what we could do to alter that, and decided to call President Skelton to see if we could leave the front door open and still stay. When we called him though, he taught me a very important lesson in a sentence. In reference to the investigator, he said, “You can’t teach her the lesson, you have to teach her the principle.” What he meant by that was that we can’t try making exceptions to a rule. When we understand what it is, we shouldn’t try and compromise. We can’t expect people to keep their commitments and covenants if we don’t abide by our rules either. It was a good reminder and a great lesson.

So, it was up to us to try and find another male to come to help us. We tried calling a number of members and were rather unsuccessful, so we called President back and asked him what we should do. He just told us that we had to leave if we couldn’t find anyone. We got desperate and asked if it could be my Dad if we couldn’t find anyone. His reply was that he didn’t care who it was. Anyhow, President had said that he would do anything to get that man (my Dad) baptized. We managed to get a male member to come along just as we got my parents to come along to, so they got there within a couple minutes of one another. We had the dinner, then proceeded on with the lesson, where my Dad was also able to sit in. I was really glad to be able to teach both the investigator and my Dad! He even asked a question about what language The Book of Mormon was written in originally! Ah, I love the gospel and my Dad so much, they need to be friends! :)

We had another referral received in Friday. We were able to teach their little 9 year old relative, Bjornn, who’s a very funny and nice kid. We were able to see him last night too, and acted out the story of Ammon and King Lamoni for him (if you really want to know, I played King Lamoni).

On Friday night, we received a random call from a man named Steven who I had contacted a few months back. He said that he wanted to meet up, so we set it up for the next day.

Saturday was absolutely crazy! We were trying to have our studies, but we were also trying to figure out how to help Li Zhen, a recent convert, to store her things while she went home to Chinese and on some school tour for a month. She needed it moved since she was leaving the next day. We finally got Lim Yi to help us move four huge bags and a portable A/C unit. It was crazy and took up a lot of time. We had lunch, then had to rush off for our appointment with Steven. It took us awhile to find his place, and we had to stop to ask for directions. Some lady we stopped for help insulted me, saying “You’re Singaporean, but you don’t know where to go? “ Bah! Anyhow, we eventually found his place. It was a little studio in a flatted factory. Apparently, he’s a Qi Gong Master, and has been to Australia and the States to teach people. The lesson went amazing with him! He said that he really wanted to change, to be Christian. Just a sincere desire! He agreed straight up to start working on his Word of Wisdom problems, and we’ll be seeing him this Sunday.

English class was good.

We had an appointment with the Sisters so that they could pass us an investigator, because they thought she lived in our area. Unfortunately, she didn’t live there, she only worked there. She lives in their area. Ah, it was rather funny.

Still working with Pan. Sikit sikit, lama lama, jari bukit….

So this random guy came into the office yesterday. Started talking about American politics until we told him that we didn’t discuss that, then started going on about how sadistic God was because of the punishments in the Old Testament. He also went on about God’s biasness towards Christians. Just a really weird guy. No matter what we explained, he just asked the same questions and wouldn’t listen. How do people get to that stage?

Met with a man name Solvere, who I contacted a few days ago. He just talked about being unfied in all religions, tried to impose himself on us. Nice guy. But another nutty appointment.

Off to lunch now! Cheerio.

21 years old in 12 days!

At Elder Perrett and Elder Taiamoni's farewell dinner.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"The Eternal Happiness of Stangers"

This week has been absolutely amazing! Elder Wheelwright and I had a blast with the work and found many people who were willing to listen to the gospel.

We met with a few new investigators last week. One in particular was staying way out of our area for a week, but we really wanted to see her, so we managed to set up an appointment anyway (in the Singapore Zone, we’re allowed to cross area boundaries anytime because of the size of the island). We headed over there, but she wasn’t able to make it to the MRT station. We had to wait for forever for the bus to come, got to the place she was staying and finally found her. Unfortunately, she really wanted to show us her place even though we said that we had no time, so we wasted a whole bunch of time and didn’t have too much time to teach. Just an example of one of our really random appointments. Anyhow, we met up with Julie again. Had a good appointment with her. She has had some great questions. She doesn’t feel comfortable praying yet, so we’re helping her along slowly.

Seoko was finally able to meet up with us over the weekend. Unfortunately, he still couldn’t come to Church, and really has not kept any of his commitments. He’s been learning for over a year now, and we have had so much hope in him. But, we finally realized that we can’t keep relying on that hope if there’s no basis so we’re dropping him next week. We met up with a former investigator named Wilson, who had dropped us when I first got in the area. Randomly bumped into him onto the bus about a month ago and he was willing to meet. Had a wonderful appointment with him. Lim Yi, one of members came along and bore wonderful testimony. Wilson hasn’t been too good with life, wanting more friends and really know his purpose in life, so we’ll be working on that. He even committed to coming to Church.

Unfortunately, all our investigators who said they would come to Church didn’t, except for Pan. Thankfully, a family member brought a relative. It’s a rather interesting relation, so I won’t mention it, but that was good, and we’re seeing him later this week. It seems to be a really big commitment for people, especially at nine in the morning. I guess that’s how you separate the wheat from the tares. Elder Wheelwright and I ended the week well though, we reached most of our goals to lead the zone! The Office Elders are truly President’s chosen! But really, the Lord has been so tender to us this week, His kindness and His love, that’s what has pulled us through.

We are still working with Pan, and she is progressing slowly, but surely. We’re praying for her. We met up with an Anglican youth worker this week. We, surprisingly, had a very good discussion. There weren’t any harsh accusations or comments. We had Elder Richards with us, and had a good session to discuss the restored gospel. I love it when people can think clearly and logically. Elder Perrett and I went on exchanges one last time, and he introduced me to some wonderful Burmese investigators who are excited to learn. It really is worth it as you find Heavenly Father’s prepared children.

Working with some of the other Elders this week to help motivate them. I had no idea what to train on for District meeting, even up till the morning itself. But, somehow, the inspiration and Spirit helped me out, and it was absolutely wonderful. Today’s title is taken from my training, which was entitled “The Eternal Happiness of Strangers.” The very first section of Preach My Gospel really is motivating. The bulk of the training was taken from President Eyring’s talk, Man Down, given in the Priesthood session of the last General Conference that to me was absolutely amazing. President Eyring stated,

“Satan and his followers were cast down into the earth. And since the creation of Adam and Eve, the conflict has continued. We have seen it intensify. And the scriptures suggest that the war will become more violent and the spiritual casualties on the Lord’s side will mount.”

He recounted an account of the bravery of two soldiers during a conflict in Somalia, and ended the account, saying :

“…I wonder if they saw it that way as they moved to the downed airmen. Out of loyalty they felt a duty to stand by their fellow soldiers, whatever the cost. The courage to act and their selfless service came from feeling that they were responsible for the lives, the happiness, and the safety of comrades.”

In the same way, I am working on constantly developing that sense of responsibility. There is too much to say, but towards the end, he makes a wonderful comment,

“My prayer is that you will have joy in your priesthood service throughout your life and forever. I pray that you will develop the bravery and love for Heavenly Father’s children that led the sons of Mosiah to plead for the chance to face death and danger to take the gospel to a hardened people. Their desire and their bravery came from feeling responsible for the eternal happiness of strangers in danger of eternal misery.”

I had the chance to test that bravery and love that very evening. We were invited to the release dinner of Elders Perrett and Taiamoni, who had both been Assistants, and so had worked closely with them. Had a wonderful dinner, then decided to take public transport home to find some people. The first contact that I had was the worst that I have ever had on my mission. I sat down to talk to a man, who was friendly, and so I passed him a pamphlet. The next instant, I found it thrown back at me. His friend next to him started threatening me, and telling me that I couldn’t do that at all, my explanations were to no avail. The anger in his eyes were evident, and I was rather shocked. It was embarrassing, but more than that, it was hurtful that someone would reject me so vehemently and spitefully. When we got out, I took a deep breath, not sure if I could talk to anyone else that night. Thankfully, the Lord is merciful to His servants, and I soon had Elder Wheelwright pass me someone to talk to because the lady only spoke Chinese. She was friendly, and I took courage from that, talking to a few other people that night. But, that was an experience. I have never seen such hatred and anger before.

But, we take it comes, don’t we, we plead for the opportunity to serve the Lord as we are truly converted to His gospel. That has been the case for me this past week. I don’t know how I would have handled it at any other time. But, the Lord is merciful, and he provided with comfort and peace, and love.

Well, have a wonderful week, there are some new photos up!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We're On Fire!!!!

I have a new companion! Elder Wheelwright from Ogden, UT transferred to the office on Monday from Petaling Jaya in Malaysia. He's been out seven months, and we've been doing great together! Elder Stone was transferred to Bintulu. It's been an interesting few days. Second time being senior companion, and I'm now district leader. I wasn't ready to lead last time, but I feel ready now, and it has been good! There was some district reshuffling, so the zone leaders moved out, and we now have the Toa Payoh Elders in our district. I served in that ward for seven months, and it's now my home ward again! So, it's interesting. Fun though.

So, last Monday, we had some time between our last appointment and the time that we were supposed to be hope, so we decided to visit an older member and his wife who lived on the hill across the street from our house. They were home, and had a good visit with them. The husband had just had eye surgery, so he had been resting for awhile. Towards the end, I asked if they would like us to share a scripture with them. I felt prompted, so or I thought. Anyhow, I flipped through the Book of Mormon and settled on Alma 11:42-44. It looked good to me in that second, so I shared the scripture, only to realize how mistaken I was as I started reading it. Fumbled around and managed to get to another scripture, but the damage was done. Awkward.

Bunch of Elders headed home on Thursday. Elder Wright was in that group, my first companion to finish! Most of my companions have been young!

Our awesome investigator family headed back to the Philippines last week, so that was sad. Peter, the Father is staying behind for a few more months though, so we'll be teaching him. Sent the referral to the missionaries in the Philippines where one of my good friends from BYU, Elder Titensor, is in the office in that mission too! We visited with the family a couple of days before they went home and had a good lesson with them about the plan of salvation. They said that they would have the missionaries continue to teach them when they got back home. I really hope that it works out. Right before we left their house, they gave us each a Ritek Heath Board that is supposed to help us with our backs and our feet. They said that they knew that we walked a lot, and wanted to give it to us to help us. I was extremely humbled by their experience. This family has hardly anything in their home, and they have to work so hard to support their family, but they gave so selflessly. It really made me think of how stingy and selfish I have been throughout my life (one of the quirks of an only child I guess), and just how amazingly generous and thoughtful they were. Oh, I hope that I can be like them.

Had a good turnout at our English class on Saturday. Eight people! It was good! Pan still won't set a baptism date. I guess we'll just be working slow and steady with her. I think that we have been too pushy anyhow.

Sunday afternoon, we met up with Jim, a rather skeptical investigator who said that he had lost curiosity and didn't want to meet. He seemed pretty sad about his friends dying because of alcohol/medication poisoning. Didn't really want to figure out his purpose in life though. Sad. He just wanted to have as much "fun" as possible.
We were able to set a baptism date a couple of days ago with Dave, an investigator whom we haven't met with for awhile. He said that he had been really busy, but hadn't seen us for awhile, so he told his boss that he had to go out for a short time. It was good!

Velmurugan is great also. Reading from The Book of Mormon twice a day!

Elder Wheelwright came in on Monday, and we have had a great couple of days! We've been able to get quite a few new investigators. We've both been contacting diligently, and it is producing results. Ah, when you work hard, it really does pay off. You reap what you sow! We did have a couple of embarrassing moments yesterday though. My district training was on using the The Book of Mormon and Bible, and one of my commitments was for each companionship to give out two copies of the book a day. When we headed out in the evening, we forgot to take some copies with us. A lady that Elder Wheelwright contacted asked for one, and we didn't have any to give her! As we were talking to people at Vivo City, a member visiting from Montana approached me, chatted for awhile, then asked if I had a copy of the Book of Mormon to give a student of his who was rather interested (he was part of an orchestra from Montana State). He looked rather appalled when I sheepishly told him that I didn't have a copy on me.

What a shame!

Aside from that, good week! Well, not too many letters floating in. Would love a show of love! Anyhow, my birthday is coming up! 21 in less than a month. Time flies!

Elder Wheelwright and I have set a goal to lead the Zone! We're on FIRE!!!! (said with humility).