What’s Going On…
This week was a great experience of finding people. We found some great places with interested people. Overall, I think this week was a miracle. Some people started to investigate, several others have potential, and the atmosphere of the work here has changed. We recently met with a Buddhist college student who studied engineering and works for Amway. He gladly listened to our message and accepted the invitation to pray. Although he did not accept the challenge for baptism, we feel he has great potential. Of all the people we teach in Melaka, we the greatest struggle we have is helping them to receive revelation. With many less-active members and investigators, reading the scriptures has little meaning to them. These people will search the scriptures for answers to their questions, but do not find the answers they are looking for. This week, I studied how to receive revelation. The greatest hope these people have is to exercise faith in keeping the commandments. I learned that revelation comes through the Holy Ghost, which promptings are small and subtle. To receive the revelation, we need to be worthy of the Holy Ghost. Altogether, we can exercise faith to receive an answer through the scriptures. With myself included, I feel that I can increase my faith in Christ’s teachings. Some days it is difficult to believe that people are prepared to listen to us. After the small miracles this week, I can see that there are prepared people everywhere.
Last week, I found Iron Man. I don’t know why he was standing in a store, usually he’s flying around the city. I also found a public toilet, which is terrible for the environment. There were hundreds of mosquito eggs inside, which is probably why I’m always getting mosquito bites. We also found a man from Idaho, who claims he is a descendant from Joseph Smith. He shares some small message about Jesus and asks other people to share the same message. He is not a member of the church, but he was very kind to meet with us. We also found some Sega Worms in a rotting palm tree, they are way gross. In my past area the people fry them up on the streets. I got a good picture of the city from a bridge. Malaysia is beautiful.
Have a fantastic week everyone!
After a long week I’m back in Melaka. I was in Singapore for three days, and Kuala Lumpur for two. Lots of meetings and only two days in my area. The meetings were very inspirational and insightful. I learned how I can better manage my time, work with members, and become more focused. Among these lessons, I realized how weak I am. It’s always a call to repentance at these meetings.
This week I learned quite a simple truth: faith is belief (and action) in a truth not seen. It’s so simple, yet it took me a quite a long time to learn. It requires great faith to bring growth to this area in the mission. I recently talked to other missionaries that have served in Melaka, and they commented that their greatest growth occurred in Melaka. Not much visible success commences, but it takes faith to know that this is the Lord’s work. It never occurred to me that in order for me to develop faith, it is essential that I not see the way things really are. I am supposed to take a step into the darkness, but rely on the Lord. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be a test. I’ve realized that I have a tiny bit of light, but it’s enough for one step into the darkness.
I’m in Singapore for Zone Conference today for a few days. I’m excited to meet the other half of the mission. Because I was in East Malaysia, I never got to see the missionaries from West Malaysia and Singapore. We’re trying to see a couple of places in Singapore before the conference with the few spare hours we have.
This week was better than last week. We still weren’t able to meet with investigators, but we certainly have strengthened our ability to contact people. We found four potential people with interest in hearing our message, but unfortunately we’re in Singapore for three days and Kuala Lumpur for two days. To prepare for these appointments, I’ve been focusing on the basics of How To Begin Teaching. I recently talked with some former-Buddhist converts of the church to see what I could learn. From their experiences it appears that in order to spark an interest in the Gospel, they need to hear a message that “fills the wonder of their souls”. In a sense, following the Spirit so closely that I can say what they need to hear to have peace. While on the streets, many Buddhists, Hindus, and other Christians seem to have something missing from their lives. I hear of their beliefs, but never of their testimonies. It seems as though they believe from tradition, but deep inside they wonder what the truth is.
Overall this week, I think I’ve regained some confidence in talking to people. We seem to have found a better area to find people, and less people run away. We haven’t been able to share any messages yet, but we are working on increasing our potential-pool. Hopefully by the end of the transfer we’ll be able to have a few investigators learning. We’re going to try some different contacting methods in a few weeks. We hope to increase the attendance at our English class. In the past, it’s been hard to do this because Muslims cannot attend the class. Most of the people interesting in the English class were Muslim, which was very sad. We will also try contacting a new section of town, which is very far away. We’ll be really sweaty biking over four long hills for about 45 minutes, so I hope everyone will ask us if we need a drink!
Well, I’ve been a year out now, Elder Wimmer and I celebrated by eating at Sushi King. At night, we commenced our ceremonial shirt burning signifying one year gone, one year more. I had a great reason to celebrate, but I think my investigators celebrated too. This week all of my investigators.. somewhat dropped us. We were not able to meet with any investigators this week, probably because they were too busy celebrating our year mark for us (this is a joke, I’m just not very funny, so feel free to laugh along with my joke). It was quite a stressful week, but we were able to do some good at least.
I had zone meeting in Johor Baru on Monday and Tuesday. My zone leaders trained me on how to eliminate distractions and focus on finding more investigators. We returned to our area to find that the work is the same, but we received some great spiritual strength. In this area of Melaka, I’ve learned to dig deeper in the scriptures than ever before. I love to study the scripture missionaries and learn from their examples. One thing I realized is that missionary work has never been easy. It always requires sacrifice, complete confidence and diligence, and faith. The fruits of the work are always worth the work. I find it depressing to not see immediate results, but I still find joy in the simple parts of the day. Scriptures as always are a great source of help, but I found the sacrament this week to be most influential. I am most grateful for Christ’s Atonement for me. Of the little knowledge I know of the Atonement, I understand that His sacrifice was difficult. He, being a God, asked if there was another way. I often ask myself this question, is there another way; this path is really really hard! I will never make a sacrifice as great as Christ’s, but I do feel that in order to bring a soul the most important message on Earth it will require the most exerting effort. I find it odd to say that I truly am grateful for trials, I have never seen Christ or His church or His Gospel in a more glorious way than now.
I’m sure next week will be a great week, I think that it’s time we find someone to teach!
Ponderize Scripture: 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ
I love you all sincerely,
Wednesday is my year mark! Yay! I can’t believe how much I’ve learned, but I believe learning is exponential. This next year will be full of even more growth! Well, here I go!
I finally had a chance to listen to conference, and I was pleased to receive personal revelation for myself and my area. I have never appreciated listening to prophets and apostles more than now. While listening I could sense the concern each of the speakers had for me and all people who needed to hear their message. I could feel that their messages contained heavenly inspiration and only servants chosen by God himself can display such power.
Some of my favorite talks were from Elder Holland on the sacrifice of mothers, Elder Stevenson on receiving assistance despite inadequacy, and Elder Aoyagi on the function of the church. Without giving you a summary of their talks, I want to say each of these speakers shared a message that inspired me to live on a higher plane, and was direct revelation to me as a missionary. One of the most important lessons I learned however was knocking. Revelation is revealed to those who will act and are searching for it. At this conference I was seeking specific answers, and I received more than I needed. I know that all of their messages were true and from God.
I have lately come to the realization that I can strengthen my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. Over the months, I have run across several other “Plans” in other churches and religions. After hearing about them, it is easy to see the slight deviations that Satan uses to lead people astray. The river parallel to the iron rod causes many people to be confused. I have desired to understand more of the “why” of the plan. Most people can identify similarities and differences in God’s plan and other plans (the what), but don’t understand why God created it, why we follow it, and why this is the only feasible plan. The more I learn about God’s love, the more it motivates me to share!
Have a great week everyone, stay safe! I hope no more missionaries flip over on their bikes.
Well, one week more and I’ll hit my year mark! I can’t believe I’ve been a missionary for almost a year. I think I’ll have a small celebration by going out for sushi! I’m pretty excited!
President Simmons and Sister Simmons visited our branch, and I was lucky to receive a second interview with President Simmons. They also presented a fireside talking about the Proclamation to the World. One miracle I would like to share occurred during the fireside. In the middle of Sister Simmon’s presentation, Elder Wimmer and I received a text from our investigator, requesting to meet in 20 minutes. I had a strong prompting to leave the meeting, and we biked as fast as we could across town. We met with her at a night hawker stand. As we talked with her, it was evident that she was struggling with something. We never found out what it was, but we did have an opportunity to bear our testimonies on the importance of the family. By her responses we assume that she struggled to believe the Proclamation, but wished to believe it was true. The Spirit was stronger than in any other lesson I have had, and I felt a confirmation that I had fulfilled my purpose. I later realized that God allowed us to have an increase of Spirit because we had followed the initial prompting. We were willing and able to follow the Spirit, and we received what the scriptures promised we would receive.
Transfers was today, and I’m still in Melaka. I’m excited for a new transfer! The haze from the fires in Indonesia is somewhat clearing up, but still isn’t very good. Hopefully it can go away next week.
Love you all!
Last week we played at an escape room. I don’t believe they exist in America, but they are way fun. They lock us in a room, and there are clues in the room to escape. There are hidden doors, hidden writing, puzzles, riddles, and other challenging obstacles. The game we played was called Small Hill Asylum. We did not make it out in the 45 minutes, but they allowed us to finish the game. I really enjoyed this activity.
We did not find anyone new to teach this week, but our previous investigator has been progressing. In our visit yesterday, I learned a great deal of the stress that occurs when changing religions. When we talk to people here, we will often find people who don’t believe in their religion. Someone will say they are Buddhist (or Catholic, Hindu, Lutheran…) but will not actively practice or believe their religion. What we learned from our investigator was that when people change religions, it culturally means betraying their family’s tradition and honor. It often means that children will follow their parent’s religion even if they disagree with its beliefs. As for our investigator, she expressed some of her feelings on the differences of Buddhism and Christianity. We found that we needed to teach at a pace she could keep up with. I had never known what an investigator experiences when making contact with our church. It definitely fills my heart with more compassion and patience. For a person such as her, she had made great sacrifices in her life to look for truth.
The haze from Indonesia still reigns our skies. It’s quite annoying because people are staying inside more. Hope everyone is staying healthy.
We started zone meeting off at the driving range in Johor Baru, then progressed to our training. Training was on following the Spirit. We noted several important purposes of the Spirit in missionary work. Teaching by the Spirit is equally as important as finding by the Spirit. The way we teach people should be led by God’s plan in His way. We should also allow people to feel of the Spirit when we first make contact with them. Often times I have found that missionaries might “beat around the bush” by saying, “we’re from America, we want to be your friend, you’re so awesome, we want to give you something that will help you…”. It is important to boldly state our purpose, testify of its truthfulness, then invite them to act on the message. I have found that bold missionaries are not just really good salesmen who use the knowledge of man, but are determined to follow the Spirit to know what to do.
We met with the mother who stopped in her car to talk with us last week. We taught the Restoration, but had a larger emphasis on using the Spirit. I was surprised at how terrible I explained the lesson (I haven’t taught in over three weeks), which resulted in some confusing. However, Elder Wimmer and I did our best to convey our love and God’s love for her. At the end of the lesson, she agreed to attend church. She actually attended church so we could explain what would commence in the meeting. Sacrament meeting was a tender moment… but rather a tender hour. The speakers were inspired so clearly as to understand our investigator’s needs, and boldly testified of the truth that she needed to hear. I was on fire, I felt as if angels were in the church with us. Our investigator needed to leave early to pick up her daughter, but she left the meeting with the largest smile on her face. She latter messaged us to apologize for rushing out of the meeting. She told us that next week it would not happen again. I am so happy she was able to have a peaceful experience. From our previous conversations, it sounds as if she is desperately seeking a source of comfort and peace. Her life story would suggest that she is very lonely. I’m just glad we have the remedy. What a privilege it is to have the ultimate remedy for any problem in the world today.
When my investigator attended church, it took some effort to get the members to talk to her. If you ever see a new person at church, please offer them a hand and a mouth. Missionaries can only do so much talking, we just don’t have the same effect as a normal member. Please reach out to those new people or those who haven’t attended for some time. Please help out the missionaries. We want to do all we can, but missionary work is a missionary-member task. It is embarrassing for us to work so hard with an investigator, then to bring them to church where only the missionaries will talk with them. All members are responsible to be missionaries, and great blessings await for those who are willing to extend Christ’s hand.
I love you all, I hope this message will reach all of those who need it.
This was a great week of success, finally! I received some tips from Elder MacBeth, a counselor from Hong Kong. He suggested that to deal with the problems that we are facing in our area, track the thoughts that I have every 30 minutes and recite a quote that will boost my self confidence. This week, I have improved my focus on missionary work, and starting from day one of this experiment we were able to have immense success. We found many people wanting to know what we were doing on the streets all day. A mother and daughter stopped in their car when we were talking to someone else, requesting to know what we do and tour the church. I can honestly say that when I have faith in the Lord, the Lord will do His work!
Elder Wimmer and I had a very good conversation on the relationship of obedience and charity. What we have found is obedience is a byproduct of charity towards others. We both have been with people that follow all commandments and rules, but perhaps lack a little charity. When one has all knowledge and intelligence, but does not have charity….. yep. In this discussion, we found that we had cultivated a greater desire to be obedient. But we wanted to be obedient for the right reasons. We both have realized that when we want to serve with all our hearts, we want to be obedient because of the additional power that comes. When we have charity for the people, it doesn’t matter how terrible our social skills are, the people just flock to us. It never fails.
I’m in Johor Baru right now for a Zone Meeting. I was able to finally see Elder Lloyd again, and Elder Avery, and well, everyone. We planning on going golfing. Last week we took a look at Jonker Walk, the Portuguese looking part of town with Chinese shops. We found some interesting things this week. We met a guy with 4 peacocks in his yard, some cool statues of a buff guy, a wedding, and tons of Buddhists worshiping. The air is really polluted here. Indonesia is burning palm trees now, so the sky is always smokey. The Buddhists are also burning their things to their ancestors, which adds to the smoke. It’s not too healthy, but we don’t get as much sun now.
We’re getting tons of work done now, this next week will be really busy. We’re out of town for 2 days, I have another counseling session, and our weeks goals are higher than usual. This week will be great!
I’ve finally met most of the branch members now, but our investigator pool is at 1. This week, I spent a lot of time contacting neighborhoods, in the city, streets, and food courts. We probably spent 20 hrs contacting this week. We hope that we’re able to get some people to teach soon.
In my contacting experiences here, I have found that I have very little control over the “outward success”. I have exhausted all of my energy this week, but I have no power to make people listed to our message. The Lord really controls our situations, and controls if I have investigators or not. I can show him my desire to serve Him in hopes that I will be allowed to teach someone. I have come to realize that Christ knows all of our trials, and therefore knows what we must yet suffer to become as He is. I guess that in order to understand the worth of a single soul I need this experience.
Seems like whenever I struggle, I learn the most. I have often listened to some remarks from Elder Holland about missionary work. He says, “If the missionaries ask why this is so hard, tell them to remember they weren’t the first ones to ask that. Someone asked that a long time ago, someone a lot greater and a lot better. He asked if there was a less excruciating way to die, and for him there wasn’t. If Jesus could fall on His face, bleeding from every poor, then little wonder that salvation is not an easy thing for a missionary”. I have come to realize that if we want to be like the Savior, we will have experiences that will stretch us to the limits. We are never alone, but we must give our all.