Faith has been a great focus, and as it becomes the first thing on my mind. I've learned a lot of what our faith as individuals can help other people. Me and Elder Poon learned a lot from our experiences this week. We were trying really hard to teach short lessons, and to meet with all of our investigators. We practiced each day to teach the restoration in 5 minutes, but as we taught each lesson, we realized it took more than that because we ended up teaching 30 min lessons. After evaluating, we thought that good expectations, like how to begin teaching, were the things that our investigators or people that we were teaching needed to hear. It is so cool and reassuring to know that the gospel and this missionary work are so simple. When we act in faith, and hope to be better disciples of Christ, and work with that hope, everything becomes a blessing. "Man! We didn't get to teach June and Zhang; I can't believe they cancelled last minute." " It's okay, we'll find someone else in the mean time, maybe the practice we did for their lesson could help out..." " True, never thought about that!"
I really am grateful for the work and being able to have a companion who builds me up and helps me feel confident in what we have prayed about and worked on in companion study and prayer. Being focused on our Purpose is God's plan of happiness, and everything falls in place in the light of that Purpose, and that Gospel. I'm trying this week to focus on helping our recent convert, 11 year old Vicky, to understand these blessings. I feel like it's really hard, she's quiet and we aren't sure what to talk about with her. Tried getting to know her and have a conversation, and her replies are kinda of sheltered. "what do you like to do?" "nothing", "oh, Okay, umm, hey this picture of your baptism is nice, when was it", "last year" etc...
And so the conversation kind of goes along like that but she just doesn't have a strong desire for anything... we are teaching our investigator Erik, who's 11 as well, and he's losing faith in God and whether or not he exists because of hard circumstances in his life. "why would God not help me with all my problems, isn't he able to?" And so we will teach that next time, but it seems like maybe we could teach in a way that helps the little people too!
Exchanges with Elder Gomez in our area with me were awesome! We had a goal to discover good finding ideas and activities to use in Chinatown, and to find. We didn't find anyone, but we had good experiences where we found that using the pictures of passalongs or holding them in our hands so people can see mad contacting so much different; everyone we talked with took the card and had a conversation with us!
The work is so much greater than I imagined! I've been trying harder to stay focused on my purpose which is something I actually haven't shared a lot over my mission, just kind of assumed that others knew of it. It's something we repeat almost daily, and it would be really great to help others know why missionaries do what they do!
"My Purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the end."
We took him up on his offer! We had such an amazing lesson with June; finally made some progress; it was so cool to see his job as an international lawyer, and totally connected with their concern with joining the Communist party! She said she believes in God definitely, and the Spirit was so strong!
Thank you so much for the package! It was a little dented, but the oatmeal cookies were so good!!!!! And thank you for the letter! All four of my companions think they were bought!!! But I know better, the cranberry were amazing!!!! I didn't know this was your favorite holiday! I've never heard too much about it; but it's really cool to see the people here celebrate. All the streets are full!!! Elder Poon is really grateful for the cookies and the Envelopes! We just got transfer calls again and me and Elder Poon are companions still!!
I'm sorry that I have to put a damper on the holiday, but our car got towed last week and I need your help to pay about $275. We were parked on a street that needed to be street swept an hour into our two hour limit; the traffic here is awful!! It was so bad, we finished writing last Monday, and walked out to the street that we were parked on, prior to parking there, the street was stuffed full, and after, the whole street was empty. I just sat there and was like, "That makes sense, I do these kindof things":0 I know I haven't earned even a small amount of what I've spent on my mission, so I'm sorry and willing to work off this stuff as hard as I can after the mission!!
I have to say in response to XX not going on his mission, that a mission is a revelatory experience. So many expreiences were witnesses to me that I should serve a mission!! Dad, our family, everyone who was a positive influence in my life encouraged me to serve a mission. I tear up to hear your pleading questions, they show the purity of who you are; and that desire is the key to this service. A desire to know, things as they are, as they will be. truth. You want to help those around you to see the happiness in your life. As we live obediently, we have the ability to store up these truths in our thoughts.
At the beginning of my mission, I had desires to serve God, and I knew there was a need for my service (D&C 4)3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are calledto the work;
4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo,he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
But these desires weren't complete, because these were the beginning of serving a mission. I had a desire to declare the word of God, but I didn't realize that I didn't know it as the Lord does, or as missionaries do. Which isn't important to know everything, that's what faith is; acting on what we know is right or correct, even though we may not be complete. We need to be able to see the light of the Gospel.
21 Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.
22 But now hold your peace; study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men, and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men, or that which is now translating, yea, until you have obtained all which I shall grant unto the children of men in this generation and then shall all things be added thereto.
As I was reading in 1 Nephi: 1-3. I saw how people are prepared to preach and serve God with their hearts. There is a pattern of having a witness of the Gospel, having a righteous desire from that, and acting on it, receiving your own witness that you later grow a desire and act upon. The consequence and impression that God has on us is powerful. His word enters in our heart faster than anything, than anything. It is His word, and it is compared to light! Light is fast. Lehi, in a vision, saw One descending from heaven, who prompted him to read a book. As he read the book, he was filled with the Spirit, and with Light. He goes and preaches to the people in Jerusalem as a result, even leaving the city and having more visions. He shares these visions with his children, and Nephi in (1Ne Chapter2) hearing these things, prays to understand his father's word. He prays to believe these things. He then gets an answer, and is prompted to read the scriptures. He moves on to preach to his brethren.
I simply went on my mission when I did, unaware of the relationship of my actions and desires; but I prayed, and knew that for sure, I could not stay any longer. The spirit called me and let me know that I would grow more and more as I humbled myself. Just as that simple prayer I said in the MTC, as I prayed for clarity, and committed to work my hardest, the Lord helps us see who we are! I would say that for (anyone) to prepare or to serve a mission, would be to invite him to read the Book of Mormon, and ask how I can know this is true. Missionaries that have been the most effective have had a deep testimony of the Book of Mormon! I have grown so much in my testimony of the BOM.
I know a lot of this doesn't make sense, but invite Aaron and Samuel, all those preparing to serve a mission to read the Book of Mormon daily, and pray about it. It could be for a minute, and it could be just one 1 Idea. But if they are sincere, the Lord will answer them!
Exchanges: Serremonte area with Elder Balthazar; working in their area we focused on their goal, which was to bring Members out to lessons with them. The Elders had a really good relationship with their members, so they had two members to come out that day, for four scheduled appointments. It was really unfortunate that every lesson fell through, it was just unfortunate, they had the lessons scheduled for sure the day before, so the members really understood that and were okay with just street contacting with us. It was interesting to see that the elders didn't want to tract because they had tracted the doors before; it was true, we met people in street contacting that the Elders had done good contacts with but just didn't get good opportunities to meet with. They used their members well in contacting, and they were able to meet good Less Actives. The one thing that I could see that would have been better is their teaching. Elder Balthazar was a little rigid and had a hard time bonding with the people he taught. It was weird because he would really get along with the member and others, but the people he teaches maybe he feels like he has to just talk about the gospel. The lessons would go chatting between the members and the people the taught, and then the elders go, "well, we have a lesson to share today, and we'd like to start with a prayer" So not the best transitions, and the lessons we did teach had no lesson plans. So I think missionaries know how to make lesson plans, but how to use them is the skill that they could work on; I see setting goals to really understand the principle of studying up and storing up knowledge could really help missionaries be wells of knowledge and expreience that investigators can come and drink deeply.
For me Elder Balthazar helped me personally, he sat me down and we talked about what I, for myself wanted to work on. I felt like I was back with Elder Han, my trainer; and he helped me see through myself that I could benefit greatly from Gratitude, and i think in the end Charity.
I love this month's ensign, which is full parables. I love the story of a Returned Sister missionary who talked simply how blessings are like cut roses. Her mission president gave all the missionaries roses after a zone conference for no particular reason; and after a long day, was quickly forgotten on the kitchen table. She was sad to see it withered a few days later, and determined to change. The next zone conference, she was given another rose, and quickly wrapped in a wet paper towel; and she placed it in a glass of water at home. It blossomed the next day, and perfumed their house for a few days. Blessings are the same, when we recognize them, the benefit and help us, but if we chose not too, they wither and dry and the opportunities are gone. My sacrifice before was pride, but I think it will be gratitude, and focusing on the Savior. Suprisingly, sacrificing pride is actually focusing on me, but i think i could give something rather than just prevent pride. We are setting big goals for this week and I feel more enabled by what I study.
I've learned a lot from this week about obedience. The last two weeks as me and Elder Poon have been trying harder and harder to find someone new to teach, we find the people we talk to are really distracted. We had exchanges this last Wednesday with the Sunset Elders again in our area. Elder Roberts was with me in our area, and we focused on finding. We set a goal to get 30 RFR that day, and we committed to receive 4 referrals. We really worked hard to that goal, and we focused a little too much on numbers because at the end of the day we got 21 RFRs and no referrals. We worked so hard, but didn't have too much result.
We felt a little overwhelmed because of the huge amount of people on the street for Chinese new year (it's like Hong Kong, so full!) When we talked to almost all of them, they said they weren't religious, or Buddhist, or too much time working. So inviting them to church, to read the BOM, or other things didn't really connect in the way that I had hoped for. We had even spent time that morning in CS to prepare one minute messages directed to Chinese people, that connected to the Restoration. Those practices were great, and we both improved in that moment (missionaries totally need to practice more, referrals and contacting)
I felt such joy that I could store up these contact approaches (PMG 159, I think "prepare 1 min messages") But the main thing I learned from that was that I was wasting all my studies on my mission; I've studied up doctrine and worked to helping people to baptism, but I never pondered how simply understanding the doctrine could press me forward to sharing with all people. (D&C 11:21) So I have a goal to work hard, but feed that fire with the scriptures and with the Spirit. I want to work hard and give my heart to the Lord, but only if I know it is from the Lord. I know this 400 Goal is from the Lord, and I am so happy as I ponder the great blessings that will come! I also realized I need to be a better Problem solver
I've learned that this mission has made me who I am, and I wouldn't feel comfortable anywhere else. This Bay area has taught me the many nations that are here in this world, and there are so many; it is indescribable how many are suffering too...how many need help. It makes me feel like I'm floating on a pool on my back, and just stretching out you can feel the currents pulling from all directions. I want to reach out and help a lot of people, but I need to be able to take care of myself first. So a mission does that. I feel willing to learn any language and do anything to help others in the way the Lord needs it. And I pray He'll continually strengthen me to help whoever.
For me it has been confusing to delve in so many cultures at the same time, washing over me, but I feel the good values. I have stayed strong, and the weak wash away, and so I let it. I may not speak the language of my mother's tongue, and my father's tongue, but I have their heart, and I know this church is true, and I know the Lord requires a deeper and more passionate desire to know His words and his work than we do now. I wish I could remember this desire in my heart, but It's so cool to see that desire preserved in the scriptures as I make notes and in my journal as I recollect the Lord's hand in my time.
I want to invite us all to seek the Lord to Grow these desires in our hearts. It brings about an even greater good than we could desire. Obedience allows our hearts to feel the Spirit of our Father. I can only say that the more I pray about this and how the Lord is going to strengthen our family, the more answers come from within, from ourselves and each other.
Anyhow, if anyone wants anything in SF just ask Me and Mom and Dad (cause it's their money). I'm sorry for being awful at writing; I still have Samuels birthday letter, and I missed moms birthday, and I have Jessica's letter, and Stephens. They're all halves...
We have Mission Leadership Council this week, and I'll let you know how that goes soon!
I am dedicating 2 years to be a missionary for the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints. You'll read my stories of dealings with God and with men who I call my brothers.