So first of all, can I say that this is the best mission in the world? Our goal for 2011 was to see 800 baptisms. November came and we were WAY short, like in need of a serious miracle. I honestly didn't think it would happen, and it was out of our control, which was wrong thinking on my part. But we set big goals and all of the missionaries worked harder with faith. We came out with 813 people who made the decision to be baptized last year. Seemed completely impossible. We were super blessed. Faith precedes the miracle. I can apply this to the work I do here on a weekly basis. So just wanted to give you a hint of how cool all the people (locals and missionaries as well) here are.
Sister Wong went home. :( What a change. It's so different here without her. She was absolutely the trainer I needed--Heavenly Father knows me perfectly. Sister Wong is awesome because a missionary is truly who she is. There is no such thing as her two sides, the missionary Sister Wong and the real Sister Wong... the missionary Sister Wong IS the real Sister Wong. Amazing. She'll be sorely missed, and has done SO MUCH good throughout her missionary service.
My new companion's name is Sister Song :) She is so sweet! She's a native from Singapore and speaks English, Mandarin, and learned Malay in the mission as well. She has been a missionary 3 months longer I have (hers was the MTC group before me). She's great, very open, and sensitive as well. I'm really excited to serve with her. We're going to have a ton of fun.
Will went out with us all day yesterday. She just was confirmed on Sunday and already volunteered to go out and do missionary work! She shared her testimony with like 3-4 people we met yesterday. It was really cool. It took me YEARS of experience in the church to get to the point where I felt comfortable sharing the gospel with people outside of church. She's a good example and a reminder to me the importance of sharing the gospel, and the responsibility we have as ordinary members to reach out and offer people an opportunity to learn.
Last week we also did a "mini mission" where 3 girls preparing for their missions (Jen, Lola, and Elsie) stayed with us for three days and two nights. We studied Preach My Gospel, had good language studies, taught them about record keeping in the area book, did role plays, and gave them plenty of teaching opportunities in teaching and finding situations. It was awesome, they really stepped up. Great experience. They're gonna be awesome missionaries. The members here are so incredibly strong.
So yesterday was also the first full day Sister Song and I proselyted together, and by the evening we were exhausted. We met and talked to a ton of people but it seemed like no one really wanted to learn. We were trying to meet people, but everyone seemed to be Muslim or something else... until at 9:00 at night we walked by a bench where a young Chinese guy was sitting down and we sat down near him. Sister Song started talking to him, and it came up that his parents had passed away. She began to share about the Plan of Salvation and eternal families. This was in Mandarin, so I got to just sit and listen and didn't know what they were saying at the time. But I could feel that the spirit was there and that he was touched by what Sister Song was sharing. He earnestly agreed to meet with us later this week and we came out on cloud nine--all of our exhaustion was gone. It was a great contact. It goes to show that you just have to keep going even when you're tired, and keep exercising faith and giving it all you have. Miracles will follow.
Missionary work is the coolest, seriously. I can't believe I am actually doing this. Last week I invited someone to be baptized during my first meeting with him, and he accepted and picked a date. Stuff like that seemed insane and impossible just 4 months ago. It's just so cool here.
Anyone who has the option to serve a mission and is choosing not to go, or to postpone it until further notice, is making a huge mistake. You cannot learn what you learn on the mission any other way. It's years and years of valuable life experience (and spiritual experience!) packed into 18 to 24 months. It cannot be replaced or substituted. If you are young or getting old/have this option, GO ON YOUR MISSION. It's the most valuable thing you could do! The hardest for sure, but the BEST. Heavenly Father is slowly shaping me into more of the person I have the potential to be. I'm so grateful to be here.
Also, is it true that David Archuleta got a mission call? Everyone in our mission is talking about it.
Until next week (remember your morning prayers! I think that's the most important time of day to pray!),