Sunday, December 30, 2012

Walk the Path


Hi! So I guess you want to hear about Christmas? I think my favorite part was talking to you guys. Christmas is not much without family. 

It was fun because the ward had a Christmas morning BBQ. We ate lots of chicken and grilled pork (Filipinos love pork!). It was great; we got to know some of the members a little better. A highlight was that a less-active member came along, and she approached us with a referral! We called the referral that night, met her yesterday, and both the less active member and the friend she referred, Eva, came to church! It was awesome! It's always been something I've wanted to focus on--bringing less-active members back by helping them share the Gospel with their friends. It hasn't worked out very well, though it seems like a great idea to me, but here it just kind of happened. I hope that this Sister keeps coming to church. She was so excited to see her friend Eva at church. It was so sweet. Eva had brought the Book of Mormon we gave her, and showed it to her friend and was so excited that she had her own copy. Her friend said, "Yes, all you need to do is read and pray. This book will really help you." She said some other things in Tagalog that I didn't understand but it was awesome! Yeah! We are meeting Eva again this week. She was a wonderful Christmas present! (If you're wondering what to give a missionary for Christmas/birthday/any kind of holiday, a referral is a great idea!)

Since all of our investigators and recent converts are out of town, we spent the rest of Christmas contacting people who didn't get to spend Christmas with their families. We shared about eternal families and the Restoration. It felt really good. We also delivered some Christmas cards to members who had stayed here for the holidays. That also felt good. Christmas as a missionary is wonderful. I'm grateful.

Heavenly Father really does answer sincere, open, honest prayers. I have experienced that time and time again. He is real. The principles of the Gospel are true, the path is set in stone. Our challenge is to walk that path. We do not do it alone--we cannot do it alone, and we are not asked to. The Savior overcame it all. We can feel that in a very real way through prayer and application of correct principles. 

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chains He Will Break


Good week... We had a good day at Church--the Elder's Quorum President, I guess, went contacting outside a mall on Saturday and invited someone to church. That guy came, and stayed the full three hours and also attended the ward Christmas party. He seemed so nice and happy to be there. Unfortunately he is only here on vacation, but we're hoping to meet with him after Christmas and send a referral to the Philippines. That was a cool little miracle. 

Also, the Relief Society President brought a friend to the ward Christmas party, and we were all able to take her on a tour of the church (highlights included the chapel and the baptismal font). She seemed a little nervous when we first met her but by the end she felt much more comfortable and opened up a lot more. She said she would meet us again after the holidays, so we're excited about that! Our ward members are so amazing for inviting their friends and acquaintances to church!

A highlight this week was attending my last Zone Conference. The highlight was definitely not that it was my last, but because it was so great. I love Zone Conferences. In our mission, because it's so spread out over a large area, we rarely get to see missionaries who are not serving nearby (I think it might be different in the US). But at Zone Conferences, which are combined with several Zones together, we can gather together as missionaries and rejoice. It sounds cheesy but it is so filling for me to see missionaries I've known and served with throughout my mission, and see that they are still "my brethren in the Lord." That they have been serving faithfully, and have overcome trials, and have grown stronger in faith and character and confidence. There is one Elder who was in the MTC with me, who I almost don't recognize because of how much he has let the mission change him (in a good way). It's really cool and a joyful experience.

I also love Zone Conferences because of the strong Spirit that is always there. This time it was a Christmas Zone Conference, which was really nice. We watched the First Presidency Christmas devotional (amazing) and sang so many Christmas hymns and heard talks about Christmas and how relevant Christmas is to missionary work. We had, also, a testimony meeting at the end where they requested especially for the missionaries who are going home soon to bear their "last" testimony. The Spirit was seriously so strong. 

I shared my testimony; I think the entire thing was driven by this line from O Holy Night: "Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother." I have taught many people who are truly in chains, truly in bondage of many kinds -- bondage of sin, unbelief, idolatry, poverty, addiction, hatred, abuse, undesirable family situations, difficult economic situations... there are many kinds of bondage. And these weren't just random people I met. These were people that I taught and loved and desired salvation for. It has taken a toll on my heart, to see someone I love suffering and be totally unable to do anything except bear my testimony of the Savior and try to help them keep the commandments. I cannot heal them. I cannot take away their burden. Sometimes I could hardly bear their burdens. 

But there is One who can. This bondage is exactly why God sent His Holy Son into the world. The significance of Christmas is not so much the fact that Christ was born, but that His birth meant that He would someday sacrifice Himself for us. Because He did that, He can heal. He can lighten burdens, and ultimately bring us to overcome every trial. Chains will He break, for the slave is our brother and in His name, all oppression will cease. Because of our Savior, our bondage does not need to last forever. Indeed, most of it is definitely temporary, and through obedience to the commandments, all of it can be ultimately removed. We will be changed. We will be freed. 

I am so grateful for the Christmas season because of how close we can feel to the Savior, if He is the center of our Christmas. Truly, He taught us to love one another. He's the reason we give gifts. He's the reason we gather with our families at Christmastime, and through Him, someday we will be able to gather together with our families, never to part again. 

I am humbled and grateful to be His missionary.

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, December 16, 2012

God Makes Up the Rest


This week was an intense one with all the transfer things, visa issues, and helping Sister Lim (a missionary from Singapore going to the St. George Utah Mission) get her visa ready to leave for the States. I look forward to Zone Conference this week.

I also am really grateful for Sister Black. She came to me the first night and expressed her desire to work hard and to be obedient and to work on improving herself as a missionary. She is so humble and open and patient and kind. I'm really impressed with her pure heart. I'm really excited to work with her.

A cool miracle this week was that on Saturday night, I was feeling a little discouraged... we had gone out tracting and had trouble finding anyone in our area (Filipinos). I felt we had wasted time trying, and I was just feeling down and had lost some of my hope. But that night after we came home, I sat down to write in my journal, and the name "Ronan" popped into my head--the name of a man from the potential investigators list in the area book. I felt like I should give him a call right then and there, which I did, and he accepted the invitation to come to Church the next morning.

We picked him up from the train station to show him where the church was, and he is a good and humble man. He said he is a Catholic, but he is looking for some "peace of mind." When we walked up to the chapel, I told him, "This is the Church," I could suddenly feel the Spirit. He could feel it too. He really enjoyed sacrament meeting as well, and meeting the members of the Third Ward. He felt very at home. His wife and children are out of town for the holidays (he had to stay because of work), but when he come back he wants to bring them to church. 

It was a testimony to me that when we do everything within our power, God makes up the rest. When we push ourselves to our limits, the blessings come. He is excited to come again next week and we are excited to start teaching him. 

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sacred Responsibility


The most pertinent news is that transfers are happening this week... it's like I've received my death sentence! I am very blessed to be staying in the Third Ward (Filipino ward). It's exciting. I'm also going to be with a new companion--her name is Sister Black, and she's from Utah. I'm looking forward to it. 

This week hasn't been so eventful... we have been teaching Brother Julius about the priesthood, since he was ordained as a priest. I was so proud of him. He described the feelings he had as he was being ordained--he said that though he didn't understand everything that was involved with it, he felt that God was trusting him with a sacred responsibility and that he now wears an invisible badge on his chest that he has to uphold. I love the priesthood and I'm so grateful for the effect it has on the men that I know.

We've found a couple of new investigators, but they are all leaving Singapore for Christmas... it will be interesting to see how it goes. 

I forgot to mention that I met someone named Gopinath! He pulled me aside and told me his name was Gopinath. He was from southern India and I wish he had wanted to learn about the Gospel, but he wasn't interested... but that was the first time I've met someone with the same name as me. So it was cool :) haha.

I love the Gospel and I'm grateful to be a missionary. We have such a sacred responsibility as missionaries and also as members of this incredible church. I'm grateful for Temples as well and the blessings that come to us spiritually and as families because Temple ordinances have been restored.

The Savior lives!

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, December 2, 2012

These are the Lord's "Elect"


This week was a humbling one. I'll tell you why.

During our district meeting this week, we were talking about teaching people who don't come from a Christian background, and the discussion began to be about finding investigators who are not from a Christian background. A concern popped into my head, which I brought up. While I was in KL (Kuala Lumpur), I met very few Christians. I taught several non-Christian investigators, but they were exceptional people who'd had a fascination with Jesus Christ for years. I loved them with all my heart. But I talked about how these days, I talk to a stranger and invite them to learn about Jesus Christ and if they are turned off by the name "Jesus Christ," I let go and don't try to push it because I don't think it will go anywhere. I tell myself that to be saved, all men need to believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and if they don't even like his name then there's nothing I can do. So I bring up his name and see their reaction, and if it's negative, I move on.

I got a few responses from other missionaries that really impressed me. One Elder said that the Lord is preparing people specifically to receive the Gospel. These are the Lord's "elect." But we, as missionaries who are imperfect mortals, will not always recognize the elect. So we need to try to find a way to relate to Gospel to anyone we meet, because although the name Jesus Christ may not be important to them yet, it will be someday. They may not know what they are looking for, or where to look for it. But we need to do our best to help them receive the Gospel. 

This really humbled me and caused me to reflect. I will not always recognize the elect. Even people whose baptisms I have attended... at first, I didn't know that they would be baptized. It will require more patience and faith and energy on my part, but I am going to work on adjusting my teaching to meet the needs of anyone I meet... to do the best I can. 

A highlight of the week was seeing Joachim in the hallway at church! I'm not in his ward anymore, so I haven't seen him in about a month. But yesterday we bumped into him! I was SO happy to see him! He has changed in the last month! He was wearing a tie! He was smiling so big! He said, "Sister, finally we meet!" He talked about how he holds the priesthood now, and he passes or blesses the sacrament every Sunday. He said he is very blessed. I was so impressed with him. He seemed more confident--he was glowing just as bright as the day he was baptized. Even his English had improved. Even though he's a few years older than me, I feel like he is my son, in a way. He is like a bud that is blooming into a brilliant flower. I'm so proud of him. The holy priesthood makes men into men. 

Speaking of which, Brother Julius received the gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday, and was ordained to the office of a priest. It was so great. He felt the Spirit strongly all day. So rewarding.

I know the Gospel is true. I love being a missionary. It is not easy, and I think it won't ever be easy. It's okay that way, though. It was never easy for the Savior. I know our Savior lives and loves us. This is His Church. Families can be together forever. The Temple is the house of God.

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"I Am a Changed Man"


The highlight of this week was definitely yesterday. Brother Julius was baptized! I wish you could have been there, and seen him. He was so happy all day--smiling, laughing. He was glowing with excitement and joy and inner peace.

At the beginning of his baptism, Brother Jesse (baptized in August) gave a very good and personal talk on baptism. The funny thing was the primary, in the next room, was practicing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and it was very loud and very long. We had to strain our ears and work to focus on Brother Jesse's talk, and I was a little stressed about it, but it was also funny. Near the end of his talk I could feel the Spirit strongly.

Julius has developed a friendship with the first counselor in the bishopric--Brother Raoul, and he baptized Julius. It was great. But the best part was Julius's testimony. He has a very strong spirit about him.

During his testimony, Julius recounted his "spiritual history." He told us that he was born into a household of faith, that he'd jumped around churches, and when he was 18 years old he had a traumatizing experience that left him in doubt and darkness. He told us these stories and it led to, "And then I was offered a job in Singapore." He met missionaries. He said that at the first meeting, his heart was hard, but soon he gave up his pride and let God in and Spirit came into his life. He feels like a prodigal son that has come home to his father. His faith has returned and is strong.  He said, "I am a changed man."  He compared his life to Lehi's dream--he was wandering in darkness, about to fall, and someone (the missionaries) came to rescue him and bring him back so that now he is holding to the rod, on the path. On the way back to his Father.

Bishop Osun, who is also close to Julius, bore his testimony of baptism as a beginning and of the need for constant nourishment. He was very bold and loving. The Spirit was there in such abundance. It was a deeply rewarding experience.

I am so grateful to be a part of this work... to be the Lord's missionary, to be a tool for Him. It's truly humbling, and it's something I thank God for every day. I know that Christ lives and that this is His church. The Book of Mormon is true.

Sister Gopinath

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pictures!


Our apartment in Singapore


The place where we do our laundry - ugh - full of cockroaches.


My study desk.


The Singapore sister missionaries....and Elder Law, from Hong Kong.  He just went home.

The Work of Salvation


So a few highlights from this week...

Sister Reeves, from the General Relief Society Presidency, came to Singapore this week and did a series of conferences. It was so great! There was a YSA Family Home Evening she did, along with Elder Wilson who I believe is in the area seventy here in in the Asia area. They also did a Leader-Member Meeting the following night--we all went to both, and brought new members/investigators. Sister Reeves talked about family roles, faith and sacrifice within the family, and holding fast to the standards in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet (everyone should read it--this year's new revised version is incredible). It was great! Elder Wilson discussed using media to do missionary work. They also introduced us to Come, Follow Me: the new youth curriculum which looks AMAZING! I want to be a Young Women's leader so badly!!! I think that will be my dream calling when I am no longer a missionary. Youth teachers in the church will really have to step it up, but it will be SO good. It will be updated so frequently so that it's current and relevant to what is happening now, and based on recent Conference messages... ah! So great!

After the Family Home Evening, Sister Reeves went around and talked to people... she talked to me and Sister Ballantyne and honestly I have now forgotten what she said, but I remember my impression of her. She is so pure. Her face radiates light. She is a woman of virtue and integrity and strength and joy. I admire her a lot. She has thirteen children! I just got my Conference Ensign (YEAH!) so I get to go back and read the talk she gave at the General Relief Society meeting. It will be different reading that now that I have met her and her husband! 

Elder Wilson and I had a short chat as well--all of the General Authorities are interested in my name. :) I love it because it always leads us to the topic of the growth of the Church in India. So uplifting and hopeful.

Another highlight of the week was going into the family history center (with an investigator). It was cool for the investigator (Pei, who is getting baptized this week after over a year of investigating the Church) to see Sister Ballantyne's lines that go back to Adam--she was able to open those up and show him. It was cool.

I opened my account for the first time, and now I am so glad that I got to familiarize myself with the new.familysearch.org website so I feel more comfortable telling people about it. I connected my family tree with names that my mom has so diligently worked on, and got to see names of my ancestors who still need work done for them, and for some who have already received a chance to get the blessings of the Temple. As I looked over those names, I suddenly had some very deep, spiritual feelings that I wasn't expecting to feel. I felt my Savior's love very strongly. I felt connection to my family, and love and concern for their welfare. I felt feelings that normally I only feel in the Temple. It was humbling and edifying. I know that this is the Lord's work. Family History work is missionary work. It is the work of salvation. I am grateful to be able to participate. The Gospel is true.

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Perhaps This Was the Reason


This week, there were transfers again. Sister Song (my 2nd companion, in KK) is going home tomorrow and I will get to see her because I am serving here in Singapore, where she is from. :) I'm excited to see her. Sister Noorda, Sister Song's current companion, will be training a new missionary who is from Singapore, and has her call to go to Utah, but her American visa hasn't come in yet. So although she has not been to the MTC, she will be trained in KL by Sister Noorda! I am excited to "be a grandmother" and feel proud for the trust God has in Sister Noorda. I knew she would train early in her mission.

The transfer that affected me and Sister Ballantyne is that our Zone Leaders are taking over the Singapore 1st Ward--the ex-patriot American/European and Indian ward. I cried a little bit when I found that out because I wasn't expecting it, because I don't get to teach Liam and I don't get to teach Jairam his recent convert lessons. It is sad. But the Elders that are replacing us (Elders Steadman and Tice) were in the MTC with me and are very, very good Elders. I feel peace and trust that they will take care of everything. (All missionaries should be like that!)

And, it's great that we will get to focus solely on the Third Ward. Yeah Filipinos! I really feel blessed to be in the Third Ward. Yesterday at church, a guy from the Philippines wandered in to the church and went to Priesthood (he got there late) and absolutely loved it. He was looking for a different church, but saw ours first and decided to come in. We were talking to him and he said he is looking for deeper meaning in his life, and to understand the purpose of his life here. He said he wasn't sure why he came to Singapore a month ago, but said that perhaps "this" was the reason. He wanted to sit down and discuss right then, but we had a different appointment. We are meeting him tonight with newly-baptized Brother Jess. So exciting! He seems really prepared. His name is Carlos.

Also, something awesome about Julius! He said the closing prayer in Gospel Principles yesterday, and (I love his prayers--they are so sincere) he thanked God for loving us enough to send us prophets and giving us a chance to be in His church. It's so cool. He has a testimony of the Restoration! I love it. Julius's testimony was greatly strengthened by General Conference--that was a turning point for him. I think it is so cool. We are all excited (the ward included) for his baptism.

Jairam was interviewed for the Aaronic priesthood and passed! :) I will miss him.

Jesse bore his testimony in church yesterday for the first time! After church I texted him and thanked him for doing that, and he responded, "Thanks, I really wanted to share my testimony today. my faith has been strengthened a lot. I am grateful to be a member of this church." SO CUTE! I love new members!!! (Especially ones that I got to teach before baptism :)

I have been reading "The Infinite Atonement" lately. And it is AMAZING. It's SO important for us to always be learning about the Gospel--especially the Atonement--so we remember it is real, and that we feel it is in reach for us. It expands our vision and gives us strength to live the Gospel.

Sister Gopinath




Sunday, October 28, 2012

Glowing!


Jairam finally was given the Gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday! (Last week he came late to sacrament meeting so it was delayed a week.) Bishop Petersen confirmed him and his blessing talked about doing family history work, receiving Temple ordinances, serving as a priesthood holder, and doing work for his ancestors and blessing his posterity. He was glowing with happiness. We took him to a member family's house for dinner. It was happy.

Another miracle a church... a lady came for the first time with her daughter, and when I started talking to her she said that her husband is an inactive member. She decided to come for the first time yesterday. It was great! Her name is Cheri. I really hope we can teach her. I felt a lot of love for her and her family instantly upon meeting her. She seemed to really like Sunday School, which was about modern-day prophets. She participated and kept nodding her head. It would be so exciting if we could teach her and help her husband come back as well.

And other investigators continue to do well and make us proud... Julius, Lao, and others.

I have been sick for a little bit of this week, but feeling better and I hope that this week we will see lots of miracles. I am very grateful to be a missionary.

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Champions!


This week's highlight was Jairam's baptism! We got to the church about an hour before his baptism was to start, and we sat down to talk about what he would say in his testimony. Usually people here just share how they met the missionaries, or their testimony/why they decided to be baptized, or some other short feelings. It's always great. Jairam's English isn't perfect so he wanted to run through it with us beforehand, which he did. 

It was clear he had been deeply pondering what he would say. He compared himself to a lost sheep who had strayed from the flock and had become lost, but that he had heard the voice of his Shepherd, his Redeemer, calling him back. He said he heard the Savior's "voice" speak strongly to him when he came to this church. He felt the Spirit of God. He shared a scripture from Psalms, and another from 1 Nephi. He is so great. It was a powerful experience for me to be there at his baptism and to see how strongly he felt about this decision. This may sound funny, but in a way it felt like I was getting baptized.

He will be a strength to the church here, and later also when he is in India again. (I am also excited to have contributed, in a small way, to the Church in India... but it's nothing I did. It's all God, and Jairam's correct choices.) He is a pioneer!

Also, something cool: Julius has been in China for a business trip this week, and his plane back left on Saturday night and got in on Sunday morning... and he decided on his own to COME TO SACRAMENT MEETING! What a champion he is! It's exciting to get back to teaching him this week. 

I know that the Gospel is true, and that God lives and loves us. Our Savior is always in tune with us--the only question is whether we are tuned in to be able to hear His voice, to hear the Spirit of God as it whispers to us. I am so grateful that the Gospel was restored and is available to us today.

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Becoming a New Person


The big thing for this week, again, is Julius! We had a wonderful lesson with him--we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost). God's Spirit was there! We were all alert and focused and felt warm and happy. We talked about how faith in Christ leads us to repent, and that a final and essential step in repentance is making a covenant with God, meaning baptism. We testified of how all the guilt of his past could be completely washed away and he could become a new person. We read from 2 Nephi 31 about how Christ set the perfect example by being baptized, and when Julius read that, he said humbly, "Even He humbled Himself and was obedient." The Spirit was so strong, and I nudged Sister Ballantyne as a green light, after which she invited him to follow Christ by being baptized. He quickly said yes, and then smiled. "I think that is the right decision for me. It's been a while. It's about time," he said, referencing that he felt it had been too long since he felt his life was devoted to God. He is really excited.

Also, he came to as many sessions of Conference as he could (three) and then told us afterwards that he "really felt the Spirit during those messages." That is amazing because he was able to recognize that he was feeling the Spirit and even articulated it to us. He had been having a hard time recognizing the Spirit when it was so obvious to us that he was feeling it... but he is resolving his own concerns. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and finding for himself the answers to his questions. He is awesome.

Also! He told us at that same lesson, "This week has been my first week without coffee." We haven't taught him the Word of Wisdom yet, but at church the previous Sunday he'd heard it mentioned that we don't drink coffee. He said, "I chose to try that out." He was really addicted but has began brushing his teeth every time he wants to drink coffee. Here, you know someone is doing well when they follow the Word of Wisdom without being nagged or even told! :)

The amazing thing about Julius is that he is not someone who was humble from the beginning. He's not someone who, after the first lesson, I knew was going to progress and "make it." Sometimes you know early on, but with him, I didn't. He is an educated man, a scientist, and he is choosing to humble himself before God. His entire countenance is changed from how it was when we first met him.

Conference was truly touching and inspiring. I took a lot of notes, and wish I had time to write about what stood out to me... maybe in later emails. We were blessed to have Zone Conference this week as well as General Conference, and I felt I was given exactly what I needed. I know that God speaks to us through a prophet. Without a doubt, Thomas S. Monson has been called of God to be God's mouthpiece. He speaks to us though him. God knows us personally and loves us.

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I. LOVE. BEING. A MISSIONARY.


This was a very BUSY week. I don't have time to write about everything that happened, so I'll pick just a few highlights...

So remember how I was fasting for new investigators? Blessings are coming. 

We met with a man named Julius. He was raised Catholic but became Baptist when he was a teenager. When he started college, he abandoned religion and went to Atheism, which he realized recently is also a religion :) So he is very lost and confused and has had a hard time in Singapore. When he met a missionary, he decided to give it a chance. He said that he'd lately been thinking about religion. 

We met with him and he opened up to us well. We testified of things that were relevant to his concerns and questions. His body language started off closed off and unsure, and he was always looking at the ground, but by the end of the lesson the Spirit was there in full force and he had opened up and you could tell from his uncrossed arms. He looked me in the eyes as I boldly testified of God's love for him and of how His arms are open and waiting to receive him. He accepted a soft baptismal invitation. He then gave the most sincere, open, and honest closing prayer I have heard in a very long time. It was a beautiful, spiritual experience. He came to church yesterday, and we are meeting him again tonight. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.

Also yesterday we had two miracle new investigators who accepted a baptismal date. We had met one of them--a woman named Amorata --before and we had an appointment with her after Church. A member's friend who came to Church heard about it and asked to join. We sat and talked of prayer, of prophets, and the Book of Mormon and they wept as we testified of the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was SO strong! They both accepted a tentative baptismal date for two months from now. I LOVE. BEING. A MISSIONARY.

I know that this Gospel is true, and that God knows and loves perfectly each one of us.

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Little Miracles


This week was certainly exciting! The biggest group of missionaries in the history of the Singapore Mission arrived. It was really exciting to be a part of.

I'm here with Sister Ballantyne, who is working on her culture shock. She is from Caldwell, Idaho... she was a BSU student. Enjoys writing fiction (suspense, fantasy), telling stories, and playing video games if she has nothing to do. So basically she is awesome. I'm excited to be with her. I feel a large sense of responsibility both for her and for the area. It requires a lot of me, and a lot of relying on the Lord. A lot of prayer. It really is an answer to my prayer to be training--it keeps me fresh and full of energy. I'm excited.

So in the last few months I have really been loving church! Yesterday two women came to the Filipino ward--they just showed up. One of them said she looked up the address on the internet and decided to show up. They were super nice, and one of them has investigated the church before. It's awesome to see little miracles like that occurring so often.

Mostly this week has been new missionary conferences and getting settled in. We've had some fun appointments, a lot in Malay so I'm getting used to being mostly in charge :) It's fun helping Sister Ballantyne get more comfortable and confident to express her testimony as we teach.

I am out of time again but I love the work and the Lord!

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, September 16, 2012

From Humble Circumstances


Hello!

So this week was good. First of all, we got the transfer news. I am going to train another new missionary here in Singapore! That's what I was hoping for, so I'm excited. Being with a new missionary gives you fresh energy and perspective, and it stretches you to really do your best. The new missionaries come in two days. We're all really excited! There are a lot of changes going on.

Other than that, this week was a good one. This area is stretching me. It is challenging to teach people from very humble circumstances, for a lot of reasons... and it's challenging in many other ways to teach educated and intelligent people. We have a Flipino investigator named Arnold. We have taught him twice this past week, and I am nervous every time beforehand but I'm learning not to be. He is around my age, and smarter than me. He is dating a member of our ward, and has been coming to church for a while, but he is a very strong and intellectual Roman Catholic. He has common concerns and questions about the Church... and for a while I was feeling like I had to know everything and research everything before I could teach him. I usually don't feel nervous teaching people anymore, but he is intimidating... until we actually get into the lesson. Our lessons have been intense, but also always spiritually edifying and uplifting. He has a good heart, some hidden concerns that he hasn't yet verbalized, and strong faith in Jesus Christ. He really is quite a spiritual person. I've realized that I am not obligated to answer every question he has--and we talked about this during the lesson, that in the end, the thing that will let him know if it's true or not is the Holy Ghost. It won't come through intellectual exploration, although studying the Gospel is essential.  Arnold understands that his answer will come not from any fact or figure, but directly from God through His Spirit. He has a hard life, but he loves his family and always talks about how if the Church is true, he would need to be baptized by priesthood authority and he would want to bring his family with him (through his family is, like him, strong Catholic). I think deep down, he can already feel what the answer is going to be as he reads and prays about the Book of Mormon. He's on track for great things. The members in the ward are so good at helping him--at our lesson, we had five members who asked to come, and who bore their testimonies to Arnold. The Spirit was really strong.

Another really cool lesson was with someone very different--Lavell.  He is from western China. He saw the Church, and decided to come in on the morning of Stake Conference two weeks ago.  He seemed to really like it, although when I tried to invite him to a baptism that was happening right after conference, he had no idea what baptism even was.  He came from no religious background... it's almost weird to get to know people who not only are not from a Christian background, but to whom religion in general is foreign and is based on concepts that are difficult to comprehend because you didn't grow up with them. But Lavell is the sweetest, purest guy that basically I have ever met.  He's in his 20s, working here in Singapore.  He glows with friendship and love, and we finally got to meet him this week.  We talked about Heavenly Father, and how to establish a relationship with Him.  We taught him about prayer, which he seemed to know about. And he prayed for the first time in his life, and it was a beautiful sincere prayer in which he expressed desire to know Heavenly Father and come closer to Him and find answers to his questions about life.  HE IS AWESOME!  He's been researching the Church, and he actually came to church last week without us knowing... so anyway. It's exciting, and his English is really good which is awesome. He's leaving for a month but we are excited to meet him again when he comes back.

There are more stories, like the 5 new people who showed up at church yesterday (AWESOME!!!), but I'm out of time... so... I know the Gospel is true, and the God loves each one of us as His child. He hears and answers prayers.

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Now in Indonesian!


Unique spiritual experience!  Yesterday I had the most powerful experience I've had with fasting so far in my life. I decided to fast for 1) new investigators and 2) strength to be a missionary Heavenly Father can trust with the people He's been preparing. I don't know what was different this time, but I felt my faith strengthen and deepen as I fasted and I was sad when I had to break my fast that evening. I really did feel closer to the Spirit as I put my hunger aside so I could receive blessings from Heavenly Father. I felt Him close to me. And that day, 5 new people that we'd never met before came to church with their member friend (go members!!!). One of them cried during sacrament meeting because she felt it was true, which was amazing, but she doesn't live in Singapore so we now have a great referral for the missionaries in the Philippines... so I won't get to teach her but I was still so happy she came and I got to meet her! One girl came with our recent convert said she wants to meet with us. So yesterday we had a total of 6 contacted member referrals! That is one of the highest I've gotten in one day on my mission. I felt that it was all directly connected to my fast. I felt really grateful and happy and invigorated. YEAH MISSIONARY WORK!!! Can I just tell you that I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!!

This past Saturday, we went to a baptism of an Indonesian girl named Wendy who was amazing. She was raised Muslim, and also raised in a very rough home and has been mistreated her whole life. But she started working for a member family, and felt more love in that home than she'd ever experienced. She cried her first meeting with missionaries. She is absolutely adorable. Her testimony is so strong. She is feeling love for the first time. I get to teach her recent convert lessons! In Indonesian! YEAH! I love my life!

Love,
Sister Gopinath

P.S. Funny things about Singapore: 1) My bed is too short. My feet and my head both touch the ends of my mattress... me with my towering five feet and four inches. 2) We have a boatload of giant COCKROACHES in our apartment!  I am afraid to leave the bedroom at night for fear of what is crawling around in the kitchen or living room. Hooray for living in a big city... on the equator!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"It's Sunday. I'm okay!"


Let me tell you about one cool investigator... his name is John and he's getting baptized soon. He is from South India (I think Canai?) and he is one of those people who is probably near-perfect.  His heart is full of love for God, and he wants to be baptized because although he was baptized Catholic when he was a small child, he feels that he wants to make the choice for himself (and he's ready) to devote his life to God. So he is really excited for his baptism. He works the nightshift on Saturday nights, so he gets off work right before church starts. He is never tired at church, he says, because... "It's Sunday. I'm okay." He LOVES church. He has such a bright smile, and bright eyes. He is great. He has deep and profound answers to all of the questions we ask him. He is really prepared. I love teaching him.

Jesse is not yet confirmed because yesterday was Stake Conference... we have to wait until next week. But even so, he was GLOWING at conference. He loved it.

Our investigator Sushma is trying to stop eating betlenut, which is addictive and against the Word of Wisdom, so she can be baptized soon.  It's sometimes hard to get through to her but we are working with her slowing but surely.

Some HUGE transfers are coming up in 2 weeks. The biggest group of missionaries is coming in... bigger than we've had in years. Because of the abundance of missionaries, our mission will open or reopen around 14 new areas. That is a LOT!!! Also literally 30-40% of us will train a new missionary. It's gonna be crazy. Who knows what's going to happen?! They will open up two new Sister areas. My companion Sister Anderson will probably leave, since she's been here for 6 months. I will get a new companion. Who knows? Everyone is really nervous about all the changes coming up.

I'm out of time but I KNOW the Gospel is true and that God lives! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly God's church, and all sincere seekers of truth can know it by reading, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon.

Love,
Sister Gopinath

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Small Part in His Work


This week... it's been good. We've met a lot of people, even people who would meet with us, but it's hard because they are all so overwhelmed with work. People from the Philippines are mostly housemaids that work 12 hours or more every day, with on average 1 or 2 off days a month. They are all exhausted, and a lot of them are struggling emotionally... so we've met a lot of people who we feel would accept the Gospel, but maybe right now it's not their time. We're still working on finding the people whose time is now. 

The other day I contacted a family from Switzerland while doing door approaches. This is noteworthy because western-culture people are generally very rude to us missionaries, so it's intimidating to talk to them in general, but I didn't feel scared at all as I bore testimony of the Savior and of eternal families. They didn't want to learn more, but it was a personal victory to be able to testify boldly and feel no fear. Someday they will know.

Success/highlight of the week: Brother Jesse got baptized yesterday! It was the sweetest baptismal service ever. His good friend Jenny (she was the one who first invited him to church and has been there for everything) gave a talk on baptism, and talked about his example has impacted her life. She said, "Never once did I see in him any doubt or fear about anything. Only faith." She was close to tears the entire time as she bore testimony of the Gospel and the blessings that baptism has brought to her life. Jesse really is an amazing example--what Jenny said about him is true. He is full of faith, not fear. His heart is soft and he finds it easy to believe the word of God. He is a great man. I can see him in the Elders Quorum Presidency soon.

Then we watched the baptismal ordinance. I have been to many baptisms on my mission. The Spirit of God is always there. This time, when we saw brother Jes go down into the water, God's Spirit pierced my heart. The image of them standing there in the font, heads bowed in reverence and solemnity, touched my heart. When I got my mission call, it came with a booklet full of information about my mission. On the cover is a picture of a man being baptized. That image came to my mind--I felt I was looking at the real-life version of that image, and I cried. Brother Jesse's heart is so humble and sincere and willing to do whatever God requires of him. He is on the path home to His Father's kingdom. He's on the path to the Temple. (We are trying to get him and Jenny together... hehe.)

I feel so privileged that God let me come here and get to play a small part in His work. Times like these remind me why I am here and what we are really trying to do. I love being a missionary and I'm excited for whatever is next. I feel that there's something good coming around the corner.

Sister Gopinath

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Making Choices


This last week included August 17th. August 17th was the day I reported to the MTC last year. It was fun to be here in Singapore for it, because four or five of the Elders who were in the MTC with me were also there. We all talked about it, about how FAST this last year has gone and how different we all are now.

I remember the day I went into the MTC as if it were four months ago instead of twelve. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what a mission was even like. But I was excited and I felt that God wanted me there. I can't believe that was a year ago. 

At the same time, though, so much has happened. I feel I have aged (matured) at three or four times the normal speed. On my 22nd birthday, it felt strange to be turning 22 because I feel that internally I have been 24 all year. I still have a lot to learn, of course, but I have seen and experienced things this past year that I never knew existed. Feelings I didn't know I could feel... people in live situations that I never knew about. People in spiritual places I never knew anyone could be in (good and also very bad). I am still growing up but I feel that in many ways my mission has made me an adult, made me a woman. It's given me a chance to see the world through spiritual eyes, to see the world for what it really is. 

This week we visited an inactive part-member family... the husband is an American and hasn't been to church in at least 15 years, probably more like 20+. He married a Catholic Singaporean. She passed away earlier this year, but their three children are still Catholic and are brought to church every week, from what I understand, by their relatives. He told us that he wants to wait until the kids are old enough, and he'll let them follow whatever religion they want when they're old enough to make the decision. It was interesting to spend some time with them. They have a good relationship with each other, from what I can see. They joke around that seem to like spending time with each other. He says that sometimes he tells them Book of Mormon stories, and he keeps the Book of Mormon by his bed. I started to ask him questions about what his concerns are why he is not living the Gospel. I wanted to ask him more questions... but he said he felt gloom in the room so he was going to change the topic, which he did. That gloom was the Spirit (or absence of the Spirit) teaching us about how we should not let others' sins or mistakes lead to our own personal apostasy. I didn't say that to him, but it was a good learning experience for me. I wonder what will happen with this family. We want to teach his children so that they CAN make that choice, and make it with an understanding of what they are choosing. We'll see how it goes.

I know that the Gospel is true and that God is real and loves us. He gives us commandments so we can be happy and have His Spirit with us. I've experienced that firsthand in my life--that obedience brings the Spirit of the Lord into our lives.

Love,
Sister Gopinath

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Time of Adjustment



​I have now been in Singapore for over a week. I'm starting to adjust, and I'm liking it more and more. I think it's been the hardest adjustment I've had to make since getting in the mission field. I am with new people--new companion, new room mates, new house, new wards, big expensive city. I think God is, once again, trying to teach me patience and resilience. Also, Filipinos here speak very good English--they are taught American English too. So it's been a language adjustment as well. My spoken English got very poor in Malaysia--I even would mix Malay words in and almost never say the English word/could not remember the English word, because the Malay word better described the thing. So I am re-learning English. It's exciting.

Last week we had a lesson with people who are of the Baha'i faith. There is more than one point in my telling you this story, but I'll start with one that is relevant to my bad English. To the lesson, we brought two of the Elders in our Zone because there were some people there who live in their area. So it was four missionaries and four people who came to meet us. Two were Singaporean, one was Canadian, and one was Moroccan. All of them had really good English... and I have been in Malaysia for the past 10 months. So anyway we had a really good discussion and I participated quite a bit, and afterwards as we were walking home, Elder Shone came and was talking to me. He said something like, "I really appreciate the way that you teach, and the spirit that you invite as you teach. Also I can tell that English isn't your normal teaching language." I laughed. He is a Linguistics major, so he was paying attention to my sentence structure and the way I expressed certain ideas which apparently was heavily influenced by Malaysia. I thought that was interesting and amusing. Maybe someday I'll get good English again...

Some other points of telling about that lesson was to mention how the woman from Canada has read the Book of Mormon for education purposes. But she didn't get the point of it and doesn't know it's true yet. It's funny that someone can miss the message of the Book of Mormon if the Holy Ghost and real intent isn't a big part of your study.

I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, and the Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world. I know that not from logic or reasoning or my own opinion, but I know it because I have received personal revelation directly from God through His Spirit. What a priceless gift. I know He lives.

I am out of time, but Singapore is great. I'll write more next week.

Love,
Sister Gopinath


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Entire Country Is My Area!


Today is my 3rd day in Singapore. I was really sad to leave KL--especially sad to leave Sister Noorda, who I love, and Jack, who has been really struggling lately and has been on his way back up. He's been an investigator I've been able to connect with in a really good way, and teach him just the way he needed to be taught. I care for him a lot. My last lesson with him was one of the hardest things I've done on my mission. Everyone held back tears until after we parted--ripped the bandaid off. It was one of those times when "God Be With You 'til We Meet Again" doesn't seem cheesy at all. I really do pray that God with be with him and my other investigators who I love as well. I feel nervous that I won't be there to keep teaching them and talking with them but I know that actually, they were never MY investigators to begin with. They belong to God. I would never have even met any of those people in the first place if it weren't for Heavenly Father guiding us and taking care of us and blessing us. I know that He will continue to do that for people like Jack and Deva and Dr. C and Freddy and for me as well. I'm so grateful that God placed me in the paths of these precious people and allowed me to play a small part in their journey back to Him.

So now I'm in Singapore, with Sister Anderson. She was born in Beijing but was adopted by her parents in America when she was a young girl. She is hilarious and great. 

Our area is ALL OF SINGAPORE, but we have a special assignment... we are in charge of two wards: the 1st Ward, which is an ex-patriot ward (Americans, Europeans, random other places), and the 3rd Ward, which is the Filipino Ward. So basically, Sister Anderson and I are in charge of finding and teaching people from the Philippines. Initially I had mixed feelings about not teaching Singaporeans, but I think the conclusion is that I'm pumped. All of the other missionaries are jealous--and they tell that to us. So it's great. Yesterday we met with an investigator named Jesus, we call him Brother Jesse. He's awesome! He's so prepared and going to be baptized in a few short weeks. He is the kind of person who finds it easy to believe the word of God. He is sensitive to the Spirit and very purehearted. I'm excited. I still just got here, really, but I've been told that Filipinos love the missionaries and love the Gospel so I should have a good time. I imagine that it's similar to being in the US, serving a Spanish-speaking mission in a very clean and safe Chicago (or whatever big city you want to pick). I'm excited to see how this goes. Also, in the 1st Ward we have a dinner calendar so we get fed American food 2 or 3x a week. :) So different than Malaysia!

Anyway that's mostly it. I am still adjusting to this change... Singapore is full of wealthy people, and the whole city is kind of like a shopping mall. It's a different mindset, and although it definitely feels Asian here, the mindset is a lot more Western. It's like being in a different mission. But I'm looking forward to serving here.

I know that God takes care of us and our families. He is real and He guides us and loves us. The Book of Mormon is true. We are each in His hands. He sent His Son to pave for us the path to peace and eternal life. 

Sister Gopinath

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Precious Gift


​This week also not much to update, because I've been sick for a few days (headaches, exhaustion, stomach problems) and we've had to stay in for a while. Yesterday was my first day up and running again--I am now fine. But... some stuff that has happened:

Sister Noorda and I both spoke in sacrament meeting on Sunday--about missionary work/preparing for missions. It was cool. I felt like getting that assignment meant that our Branch President trusts us as missionaries. We have a strong group of young men in our branch and so I tried to aim my talk toward them... it reminded me of being at EFY talking to the young men about serving missions. I talked a lot about the necessity of personal worthiness and personal testimony of the Gospel. Anyway, it was a good experience. I love the members in my branch.

Memorable experience on a train: I was trying to talk to this one Chinese lady, and she was really nice but she was having trouble understanding me because she isn't "English educated" as they say here. She called her sister, who is English educated, to come sit by me to translate but I just started talking to her sister. I told her I am a missionary and she said she'd been to Christian churches a few times before, though her family is Buddhist. I began to share about how through Jesus Christ we can find strength to face our trials. I could tell from her body language that she was listening very intently to everything I said. I shared that Christ had blessed me and my family, and that we share a message about Him and His love for us. She was very quiet. The Spirit was there quite noticeably and I knew she felt it. I felt like she may have gotten goosebumps, which isn't something that happens on the train every day.  I asked if she was interested in learning more, and she paused and said, "...okay. Can..." She paused again and said, "Later lah," brushing aside the spiritual feelings she'd been having. I asked for her phone number, but she smiled and said there was no need for that. I made sure she had our phone number and gave her a pamphlet on the Plan of Salvation, and we parted on a friendly note as she got off the train. She'd decided that now was not the time, and I don't know what will happen to her, but I KNOW she felt the Spirit of God testify to her of Christ, and it was cool thing to be there for that. 

We went and visited the sister of that member who came to District Conference, the one with the husband who doesn't like the church. Her sister took us to her house and we had a nice visit with her. We now know where she lives, which is good news :) We'll be going back there soon.

Everyone else is still doing well. We gave Jack a pocket-sized Book of Mormon for his birthday, so now he can keep it with him all the time and read it during his quiet moments at work (security guards aren't always the busiest people in the world). After we gave it to him, he texted us later that day and said, "Thank you for the precious gift you gave me."

Being a missionary is great. 

Philippians 4:7 -- "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (footnote: guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." I like that verse, and I've felt that in my life as well. As we come closer to God by keeping His commandments and living the Gospel, there is a peace that comes to us that cannot be found anywhere else or through any other way. It is the peace of God. It endures even through test and trial--it lasts forever. Closeness to the Lord--having his Spirit, feeling this peace--is something I really want to have every day of my life here in this world. I'm grateful that Christ marked that path for us to walk.

Sister Gopinath

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lightbulb Moment


It's been a good week! We met President and Sister Mains!!! They are SO nice! I was worried that they wouldn't be the same and President and Sister Clark (who are now home--President Clark already has an injury from water-skiing haha). They are NOT the same, but it's totally fine. The Mainses are wonderful. They are very warm-hearted and loving about everything. President Mains came and did interviews with each of us missionaries the day before district conference, and talked to us a lot about how he is here to serve as our Mission President, and they're also here as our parents for the time being, because we are far from our actual parents right now. They were just so loving toward each of us :) We are all happy and excited that they're here.


District conference was wonderful! Elder Watson of the Seventy came and was with us for a few days. He and I talked about how I have family in Bangalore, which he thought was great and he said the Church is becoming quite strong there. Actually after the conference in KL, he was on his way to visit Bangalore. I told him to tell it hello for me :) It was very neat to talk with him. He is very pure, and very aware of those around him. Also very tall. :)

There were many testimonies that were born by new members that were so touching! One of them was Andi, who is from Puchong and who was baptized while I was there in Puchong :) She is the cutest thing ever... I must have mentioned her. She is probably 16 years old. She shared her conversion story and I wish you could have just been there. She has such a strong and deep and mature spirit already, although she is a cute and happy 16-year-old. She talked about how she was raised Buddhist but as she got older she felt that Jesus was her Savior. She was invited to church by one of the Young Women in the Puchong branch (Raquel), and when she came she felt so happy and realized as she was learning that this gospel was true and that it answered all of her questions. She was so adorable. I can't wait to someday see her with her own family--husband and children. I felt that she is going to have a strong family.

There was a talk given by a young man who is going to leave on his mission soon--to serve here with us in the Singapore Mission.  Some of his non-member family was there. We were talking with them after the conference, and we met his aunt, who we discovered really wants to learn! She met with missionaries decades ago, and still has a Book of Mormon and actually keeps it by her bed when she sleeps. She is having trouble with her teenage son, but her nephew who is leaving on his mission (Prince Wei) also has had struggles. He's changed a lot recently, apparently, and that has touched the hearts of many of his family members. So his aunt is one of those prepared people--she is so lovely and so nice! But, her husband is against the church. We're not sure yet as to why, but he wouldn't allow his family to go to church (that day he said yes because their nephew was giving a farewell talk, so he understood it as a family-oriented gathering). So we're trying to figure out how to approach this situation... it should be interesting. This would actually be my first time dealing with a misunderstanding husband. Prayer will have to play a large role.

Jack is having a lot of trials hit his life, just like a lot of people when they are in their conversion process. He is at a point when he feels peace and happiness only when he is close to the Spirit, and he recognizes that and holds on to that. He did a small relapse with his smoking the other day--something very stressful happened at his work, and so at his break he smoked a cigarette. He told us the next day, and told us humbly and admitting that it was wrong. I didn't feel frustrated with him, I just felt love and concern. We talked about it and realized that he literally didn't know what else to turn to in a moment of intense stress. The Spirit said "prayer." It seems maybe an obvious answer, but it was unmistakably put into my heart by the Spirit--it felt like a pocket of light that just popped into my heart. I offered that as a suggestion, and testified of the Spirit that prayer brings--the comfort, the calm, and the power over temptation. Jack had a lightbulb moment and said he would pray the next time he felt stressed. That was a great moment where the Spirit was the real teacher. We're very proud of Jack. He's really progressing and going to be strong. 

Other than that... trying to find more solid investigators... chugging along. Life is good. There's nowhere I'd rather be. The Gospel is true. God loves each of us. Families truly can be together forever, through the ordinances of the holy Temple. I'm grateful for the Restoration of such ordinances and I'm grateful that such blessings have been offered to me and my family. I am here trying to help extend those blessings to the people around me here in Malaysia.

Sister Gopinath

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lows and Highs


So, after I wrote last week, our lives fell a little bit apart. I called Freddy (who was an amazing new Christian who had brought his family to church, who asked us for a church tour, who was reading from the Book of Mormon every day, and is way in-tune with the Spirit) and he said that he's too busy to meet, and his life has been complicated lately (moving to a new house) so he felt it would be easier if he just followed his family to the Methodist church. He wouldn't agree to meet us again, but I invited him again to read the chapter in the Book of Mormon he'd been assigned and to pray about it. He said he would, I told him we'd always be here for him, and we ended the conversation on a friendly note. I then crawled into my bed and cried, and cried. He was so close to the truth. I thought of his wife and children, who I haven't even met yet, but who are looking for truth and for God. I thought of the times he'd felt and recognized the Spirit during our lessons with him. I know it's not over, this isn't the end of his story or his family's story. While I was crying (it'd been a while since I'd cried), it was weird to observe myself. I kept examining or checking myself for selfish motives... was I sad that now we have to figure something else to do on Thursday afternoons instead of teaching him, was I sad because I won't be able to tell people I was there when he and his family were baptized... no. I cried with my heart and I was crying purely out of love and sadness that Freddy and his family are being kept from receiving the blessings of the Gospel that my family and I have received and will receive. I was crying because of charity. I tell you this humbly. It was a purifying and defining experience for me, and it was completely not about me.

We also found out that day that another of our solid investigators left the country suddenly and has no plans to come back anytime soon, which was really a blow. And yet another one of our investigators who has been quitting smoking after it being a lifetime habit.. well, I will have to tell you in person someday.

There is one boy I have to tell you more about, though, Jack. I talked about him in my last email. He is the highlight of our day every time we see him. He has been through SO much... he is from the capital city of Nepal, and from what he says it sounds like a very sketchy place. He has seen and been involved in many terrible things in his life. He's had a hard life, a lot of it due to his own mistakes. But he has been touched by the love and light of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. He is repenting, sincerely. He prays in his head as he walks to work so that God will be nearby him. He reads the Book of Mormon and has felt it was true from the moment he saw his copy being pulled out of Sister Noorda's bag as we were giving it to him. He wants to memorize every page... he savors it. He is constantly looking forward to Sunday, because that means he gets to come to church. He has sincere questions and he's finding that they're beginning to be answered. A few days ago, we sat down with him for our 2nd formal lesson with a baptism date in our minds that we planned to offer to him that lesson. After the opening prayer, he asked us what the next step was, what he could do to improve besides reading and praying and coming to church. We talked about how baptism is the gate to the path of discipleship, the beginning (not end goal of) our spiritual lives. He got it. He normally talks a lot, but at this moment he was quiet. Sister Noorda invited him to be baptized on August 26.  Jack sat there quietly and thought about it for a few seconds. He then replied, "I think I should," with a grin. I wish you could have been there. It was exhilarating. We asked him a minute later how he felt about this decision, and he said, "I'm excited!" He asked us to give him a list of commandments (and "things to avoid") that he needs to follow before baptism, and that he would obey all of it. We told him we'd teach him the commandments line upon line, but his heart is so contrite and "willing to submit to all things." He is quick to recognize and believe the word of God. The Holy Ghost has guided him and helped him recognize Jesus Christ as the source to which he can look for a remission of his sins. He is a great example to me. We are really excited about him. He is another one of those people whom it is an absolute privilege to be teaching. (You will get to know him a little, President--you will most likely interview him next month before he is baptized).

Also!! I'm not sure if I told you how Devi (the man from Bangalore who wanted baptism) has been insanely busy with work and hasn't been able to meet us, and then we found out he is going back to India for a few months (undefined period of time)? I was SO bummed that he was leaving. His ticket was for last night. But he called us and told us "bad news"--that something with his visa requires him to stay in Malaysia until August, so he had to cancel/postpone his trip back. He was sad because he was supposed to see his cousin's wedding, but he said that we can meet him anytime now because he had already taken a 2 month leave from work. So now we get to teach him again!! I am so happy!!

Other than that... Chinese Anton has been passing the sacrament on most Sundays, and has been called as the Branch Librarian, which warms my heart. In his white shirt and tie :).  Also, Nigerian Anton also got the priesthood and went out to buy a set of white shirts and ties, which he now wears every Sunday at church. As I watch them, I feel like a proud mother, even though both of these guys are in their 30's. It's great.

In other news... at church, Kripala randomly (as in, interrupted a conversation I was having with a member, and) gave me a box of "drink mix." He said sometime to the effect of, "I see you sometimes feel very hot! The other day I was drinking this, I made it with ice, and it was very nice! It was so nice, I felt relaxed and all cooled off. Very nice mah, this is for you." Me and the member both laughed a little and I stuck it in my bag. Later when we got home, I was looking at it and discovered, to my surprise, that it was actually a box of packets of medication for urinary tract infections. (To clarify--I have never experienced such an infection.) I laughed for a very long time. I don't know whether he knew what he was giving me or what he himself had been drinking. He was either being sneaky, or oblivious. Either way, it was hilarious.

Being a missionary is great. I love it. Sister Noorda is amazing and hilarious, which helps. The Gospel is true and is the power of God unto the Salvation of His children. I firmly believe and know that God lives and loves each one of us.

Sister Gopinath

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Welcome, Sister Noorda!


Hello! What a week this has been! I had a blast in Singapore picking up Sister Noorda. I got to see President and Sister Clark right before they left, which was a huge blessing. And I got to be there for and participate in the orientation meetings (as well as the trainer orientation meeting), which was a joy. It was kind of surreal to be there as a trainer, and think back on my experiences since I was a new missionary. It made me aware of how much I've changed, because of how differently I felt being in the same type of meeting. I'm really grateful for the experiences I've had, although difficult, for making me the (still-developing) person and missionary I am today. 

I was nervous to be training, but now having been in it for a week, I realize I didn't need to feel that way. First of all, because Sister Noorda is awesome. She and I have a lot of fun together, and she pushes herself out of her comfort zone on her own, which is really admirable and helpful. Even though she is nervous to talk to people, she still does it. She is going to learn a lot really fast. I am going to learn a lot from her. On Sunday we taught a lesson to a girl we had just met (she came with a member to church), and the lesson was basically about being clean from sin through Jesus Christ. It led perfectly into teaching the doctrine of baptism. To any new missionary, bringing up baptism is intimidating. But there came just the right moment to extend the invitation to follow Christ by being baptized, and I backed off a little. After a second, Sister Noorda stepped in and invited the girl to be baptized, and she accepted, saying that she felt a need and wanted to become clean. It was wonderful. (We will not be the ones to continue teaching that girl, because she lives far away, but she is going to be meeting with the Elders who are near her house.) I was really proud of Sister Noorda.

Dr. C came to church for the first time on Sunday!! It was a great fast and testimony meeting too. He absolutely loved it. Sister Noorda asked him after church if he felt the Holy Ghost, and he said emphatically, "Yes! Did you?!" He was glowing! Then he was telling us how he'd been reading the Book of Mormon last night in Alma and Moroni, and he had been deeply moved and inspired. He is a very spiritual man. He has been trying and looking forward to coming to church, and he finally did and had a really spiritual experience. I am humbled that I get to teach him.

Also, someone new came to church. His name is Jack, and he is from Nepal. He works as a security guard near where the missionaries used to live, so he has met many Sister missionaries in the last few years. He's kind of like a young troubled artist, with many unanswered questions and inner struggles he doesn't tell anyone about. He is a really great guy. Sister Pinkston and I had invited him to church two weeks ago, but he slept in instead of coming, but he told us, "The time is coming. I know I have to go there." He comes from a Hindu background, but finds his heart drawn to Jesus Christ. This Sunday he came to church, and it was his first time in a Christian church. He seemed to enjoy it, and had to leave in a rush but told me, "I will come again! Are you going to visit me later?" Of course we were!

So yesterday we met him (first lesson), and as we were sitting down, we simply asked, "How has your day been today?" He replied, "Excellent. It's been a great day." We asked him why, and he told us, "I haven't smoked or drunk since June 30th (Saturday)." Apparently he has been a chain smoker (25-60 cigarettes a day) and a frequent drinker for the last 14 years (since early teens). But he said that on Saturday, he decided within himself that since he was going to church that Sunday, he didn't want to smoke or drink anymore. And he stopped cold-turkey. We never even told him to do that! It was incredible! I asked him why he did that, and he said he didn't know. But he's tried before and has never been able to overcome his addictions, but now he has found motivation. God's Spirit is so REAL! He is working among us constantly, even when the missionaries are not there. 

He told us that if he could, he would spend hours in church every single day so that he could have his heart and mind in the right place. We talked about daily prayer, to which he committed. He asked us, "So, what's next?" and we taught the doctrine of baptism as the way that Christ has invited us to follow Him. He knows he is going to be baptized, to commit to being a "1000% a disciple of Jesus Christ," as he put it, but he wants to learn and fill his mind with the Savior first so he can be ready to share His testimony of Him to anyone who asks why he became Christian. He is amazing and such a prepared soul. We are really excited about him and hope to help him set a baptismal date very soon.

So as a spiritual thought, go and read Ephesians 6:10-20.

I know that God is real. He lives and loves us. I love being a missionary and sharing the Gospel of Christ. The Spirit of God is real and has incredible, very real power to touch the hearts of God's children. I know that through Christ's sacrifice, we can become completely clean, without spot, eventually even as He is so we can inherit God's kingdom in Heaven.

Sister Gopinath

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goodbye to Sister Pinkston, too! (and now I'm a trainer!)


Wow, okay thanks for the update. I will pray for Nina's recovery. (Her 17-year-old sister was hospitalized with a liver ailment.) I'm glad she's been watched over and gotten blessings and that people have taken care of her. The TS ward is awesome. I'm glad there were so many people willing to help in a time of need.


This week the main news is that my companion, Sister Pinkston, is leaving for Singapore. I am going to stay here in KL, and train a new missionary coming fresh from the MTC! So, tomorrow I am going to be bussed to Singapore with Sister Pinkston to pickup the newbie -- the "greenie" as we call them -- and we'll be there for a few days for orientation before we come back to KL.


The last few days have been a whirlwind! Sister Pinkston has been here in KL for 6 months, and so she's gotten close to many people. We've been visiting them--members, investigators, former investigators. It's been fun, and very busy :) We are still not packed up!


Even though I'm staying in KL, I feel like a lot of things are changing. I didn't expect to train before the end of my mission. I'm nervous, but looking forward to it as well. This is going to be a new challenge, and I will need to step up my game. God knows what he's doing. I am excited to be training, and to be training in KL of all places! :) Life is great.


I will update more next time :) The Gospel is true! 


Sister Gopinath