Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

Hello everyone!

KK is still great. There's nowhere I'd rather be. Being a missionary sure is hard, but it's going to be worth it. This is the hardest thing mentally I've ever done, hands down. I have so much I need to improve on.

The church really is so new here. It's so different to be in a Branch of people who ALL have conversion stories. I think the longest-time member joined the church 12 years ago. Most of them, though, are within the last 4 years, and most are part-member families. I admire them so much. We don't live in a spiritual world, but there still are spiritual people who defy their surroundings and choose to follow God and be free from the dirt and slum of the world. It really shows your character when you choose to do something you feel is right when everything around you pulls you the other way, is trying to pull you down. Acting, instead of being acted upon.

It's interesting because the majority of our strongest members are ones who investigated the church for months and months. They usually had one thing they were holding onto that was holding them back. One of our YSA's shared his story with us this week, which really touched me. He said he used to be "kuat jahat" before, meaning wicked. (There are a lot of things in Malay that translate so poorly into English...haha) He would lie all the time, tried to "galalkan orang"... try to get people to fail, pick on them. He met with the missionaries and would lie to them. But what made the difference was he began to read the Book of Mormon. He would read a little every day, and soon he would read in the morning, during his lunch break, and then at night. Something in him gradually transformed. He became a new person because of the Spirit that the Book of Mormon brought into his life. He repented and was baptized, a year after meeting the missionaries. He is amazing now--his face shines with the light of Christ. Sometimes it takes time. I need to have patience and remember that sometimes I am just their first encounter with the Church, preparing them for a time in a future when they're more ready to receive it.

There are so many amazing examples here. I learn so much from the people I met, especially this week. One woman we met was a underpaid, undervalued housemaid (slave, almost) who lives far from her son and has no phone to call him... never is allowed to leave the house of the people she works for, and they don't let her go to church because they are Buddhist and they don't understand Christianity. She has such a hard life but she is SUCH a loving person. She is strong. We swung by the other day and shared a message about faith and prayer with her on the front porch, and she shed tears as she told us her experience with prayer. She said what she cannot tell anyone else, she can express to Heavenly Father in prayer. He takes her burden, listens to her with infinite patience, sends relief to her burdened soul. My soul aches to reach out to this woman. She is incredible. I wish we could teach her, but she never has an off day so she can't do anything for herself or come to church. I don't know how I can help.

There's this woman who came to church on Sunday, and said she's wanted to come to this church for 5 years. She's from the Philippines and has seen the church, the Temple, and the missionaries. Only just now we met her on the bus and she has come to church and she was really enjoying it. We want to teach her really bad, she seems really prepared, but she is difficult to meet. Lives far, is busy. Hopefully we can meet with her soon.

Another new investigator we met with this week was a 17-year-old boy from Indonesia named Ricky. It's so interesting to see how people's lives and families affect them. He is 17, but he stopped school when he was 11 or 12 so he could work to support his family. Although he is not very educated, he is quite mature. He's not goofy or superficial like a teenager. He is really more like 25 years old on the inside. Anyway, he told us he wanted to learn about Jesus Christ. We met with him and his family once and taught them how to pray and taught about prophets. They smoked throughout the lesson... it was an okay lesson but the smoking made it hard. His family is Roman Catholic so they really strongly identify with that church (tradition, family, rather than spirituality), although it was apparent that they know close to nothing about the teachings of their own church. But just the one boy, the 17-yr-old, wanted to keep learning. He came to church all by himself (without his family knowing) and seemed to like it and asked us for a Bible and Book of Mormon. We got him the Book of Mormon, but when we tried to meet him yesterday, he didn't show up. We waited 45 minutes, called him, and he told us he was still at work. So we just left and went to the Branch FHE activity, and after FHE, Sister Wong saw on the phone there were 9 missed calls. It was Fiki, and he was crying. He said he had to be honest. He wasn't held up at work, but rather as he was trying to come meet us, he ran into his older brother and told him he was going to meet us. The older brother forced him to go home and told him he can't meet with us. He was scared, and like I said he was just crying on the phone. He wanted to learn more about Jesus. We told him that he should keep praying and reading the Book of Mormon, and someday when he is older he will be able to learn from us. And he knows where the church is and he is always welcome. It was a really heartbreaking night. Judgement day is going to be sad for all of the parents and older siblings who will not allow their family members to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They don't GET what they're really doing. It's hard.

We're going to keep working. The people here are so great.

I KNOW this Gospel is true. The message I've been send to share is true. Jesus Christ is real, He lives, and through Him we can become free of all sin and we WILL conquer death. The Book of Mormon is the mighty word of God. It's such a big position I'm in--the Lord calls us in our weakness, and strengthens us if we choose to let him. Trying to do what he would do if he was in my place. The battle in life is really against ourselves, in a sense. Because our ability to CHOOSE is so powerful for good or bad. If we choose good, we have Heaven on our side. God is on our side. SO powerful. Light always conquers darkness. I'm so grateful for this complete and restored Gospel. I'm not perfect but I know the way, I know enough. I'm here to share it.

Sister Gopinath

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