Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hello from Puchong!

Hey! So I got unexpectedly transferred... it's a longer story than it should be. So there's this area outside of Kuala Lumpur called Klang that (I hear) was struggling a little bit, so President Clark decided he wanted to move in a pair of Sisters to try to help the area. So the AP's called Friday night and said I was being sent to whitewash Klang with Sister Jensen and that I was leaving on Tuesday morning. Crazy! I asked everyone to tell me about Klang, so they did and I got SO excited!!! Klang is (basically) the Nigerian branch! Sister Song, since there was no sister that could come to replace me, also got transferred to Penang. On Sunday we found out we were actually leaving on Monday morning, cutting out a lot of the plans we'd made to prepare to leave... so we left without saying goodbye to quite a few people. But I guess that's just how transfers tend to be.

So I get to KL and I'm staying with the Sisters in main KL (since my companion hadn't arrived yet), and we find out that I am not actually going to Klang, but an area called Puchong. Apparently they decided that Klang was too dangerous an area for sisters to be in, so the Elders from Puchong are going to Klang and we're replacing the Puchong Elders.

What I know so far about Puchong (we got here last night) is that there are a lot of Chinese and Indian people.  There are also a few Nigerians as well. The area seems to be more of a suburban town outside of Kuala Lumpur (maybe 40 minutes from the city), definitely more developed than KK. I will be speaking English here, which actually will be awkward for a few days :) The Elders left us a nice little pool of investigators.  I feel like this area is far less Christian than what I'm used to--a lot of Buddhists and also Hindu (we heard a Hindu man praying this morning). It's going to be a really different experience, and I am so excited!!

It was so hard to leave KK.  I shed a few tears.  I truly love and admire the people I got a chance to get to know, and hopefully serve. There are so many people there who have touched me and left me different because I knew them.  I have met some of the strongest people I've ever known there. I have deep respect for so many of the people--members, investigators, people who I only met a few times. Sister Song and I left quite a few people who we really LOVED and it was so sad that we won't be the ones who get to teach them and see them baptized.  (I guess that is normal for missionaries, though.) But I know that the Lord (and the Elders!) will continue to watch over His children there.

So, sidenote... this isn't about my area... but I spent 24 hours in the KL city and FELL IN LOVE. I'm so going back there someday.  It's INCREDIBLE.  Like no city I ever imagined.  The diversity is INSANE! So many Indians and Africans and people from little Asian countries I'd never heard of... I talked to one lady from a country in Europe I'd never heard of, I saw a ton of people from... EVERYWHERE.  It was like being in the entire world at one time.  I felt like I was in an incredible dream.  The feeling in Kuala Lumpur is unlike anything else. So colorful, so rich, so full of SOUL. The buildings are also incredible, and also colorful. The food... ah!  Everything is just... so extremely cool.  I never knew a place like that even existed. It is my new favorite city.

Okay.  Now that you know a little bit of how cool KL is... now back to Puchong.  I'm super excited to be here and I know I'm going to learn a ton.  Sister Jensen, my new companion, is my first American companion since I got into the field :) It's going to be fun!  She is a really fun person.  She stands out pretty well, being blonde and having big blue eyes.  She's way cool though.

That's about all I have time for... next week I'm sure there will be more exciting stories!

Love you all!  Pray always! Never let yourself feel for a moment that you don't want to pray. If you are not in the mood to pray--no matter what you are doing--you need to stop, pray until you feel like praying (quote by Brigham Young), and then continue on in that spirit of prayer.  Prayer should be an integral, fundamental part of our lives. I have been thinking about that lately--how mine needs to be a prayerful heart.  Without prayer we fall shamefully short of our potential in every aspect of our lives.  Prayer lifts us up above this world, bringing us to heights we would never reach on our own.  It is medicine for the hurting heart.  It is the song of the grateful. It's a powerful and precious gift.  I love prayer!

Sister Gopinath

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Another Week IN KK

Hello!  It's been a good couple of days here.  Learning a lot of things that are hard to put into words... I feel like me getting a hold on things is almost within grasp... not that I've almost got it, but that I'm at the point where I can visualize myself "getting it."  Hahaha. It's progress, I promise.  Also probably means I'm due for a transfer sometime soon. :(

Something I can put into words... hmm.  Lately been trying to be more patient/not feel discouraged when people cancel their appointments.  MOST of the time these days, our appointments don't go through.  Everyone is flaky, and the non-flaky ones always have things come up last-minute.  It's easy to get discouraged, because there are days (like yesterday) when we have a full schedule, but it all falls apart at the very last minute so we just end up tracting instead (which is one of the least productive activities).  It's frustrating.  But I am learning patience.  Before the mission, I had no idea what the meaning of the word "patient" was, or how deep it went.  Patience and faith have been everything to me lately.  (Actually after I typed that last sentence, someone called and cancelled an important appointment we'd had for tonight.)  I'm trying to exercise faith (believe and act upon that belief) that there's still something important I'm here for.  We find people to teach, and they want and are interested, but other things come up and they say they don't have time/have to go somewhere else.  It really tests my patience.  But I feel like I'm slowly getting it.  I have to have faith that things are in the Lord's hands, that good things are to come, that he does have an important work for me to do here that maybe I just cannot see in the moment.

In a district meeting last week, Elder Petersen shared a talk with us--"Continue in Patience" by President Uchtdorf.  It was so good.  You should all read it.  One thing I really liked was it talked about patience not as a passive thing, but as an active "enduring well."  Continuing to press on, not standing still/waiting until the storm passes, but a determined continuing of the journey.  We must not only endure, but endure well.  President Uchtdorf says it better than me though, so you should just read it.  Here is the link:


Patience is a huge part of any happy/successful life, I think.  There are always things that try our patience--even if it is being patient with our own selves.  Luke 21:19 says "In your patience possess ye your souls."  Think about it... it's so very true.  Patient people have themselves.  Even when other things/trials are going on that could mess with them, as they endure well--with patience--they are blessed and strengthened.  Patience is powerful.  I think it helps us to learn more quickly what we were meant to learn from every trial we meet.

That's about it.  I love the Gospel, I know it's true.  I believe in continuing revelation, and thus, a true prophet of God that receives revelation from the Master Himself.  God always answers sincere prayers.  Keeping the commandments brings the blessings of Heaven.  I know that from experience.  Families are a gift from God and Jesus Christ has provided a way for us to make that precious unit everlasting.  For more information, visit www.mormon.org.  :)

Sister Gopinath

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Today is my Six Month Mark!

I feel so old.  It's crazy that my mission is now officially 33% done.  Three more months and I'll hit halfway :( I have so far to go, so much to learn--but I'm realizing that this feeling never goes away.  The best missionaries still feel like they just got here and are still trying to get a hold on things.  I think it's supposed to feel that way.

This week was cool. Sister Kubota and Sister Rinet came to KK for two days--they are "Travelling Sisters," which means they get to  go on splits with all the sisters in the mission and uplift/train them. They are amazing missionaries.  The first day I went out with Sister Kubota and Sister Song was with Sister Rinet, and on the second day we switched.  I learned a lot about teaching from them--to be more myself, to ask better questions, to be more excited/show my true feelings about what I am teaching people.  It was a really good experience.  They are great missionaries.

We had many little miracles this week--I remembered this man Sister Wong and I contacted months ago, for some reason, and we dropped by his apartment and he invited us in.  Then we taught him and his family about the Restoration of the Gospel. The Spirit of God was there.  Their hearts are so good.  The dad didn't grow up Christian, just became Christian a few years ago, so he is full of sincere questions.  He assured us that he would pray about what we share with him so he could find out the truth. His wife was also very open and gracious, which was a huge blessing.  And their kids are so cute.  I love this family.  We're going back soon.

Also, there was this 18-yr-old girl that Sister Song met at the mall, and she said she'd meet us later that week and bring her friend to the appointment (which she did).  She told us where her friend works so we went to it, and that girl said that as soon as she saw us she felt a feeling of strong love enter her heart and she came up to us and greeted us with tears in her eyes, saying that she was blessed to be meeting us.  It was amazing--she felt God's Spirit just from looking at us.  So her friend brought her to the lesson and we taught her and gave her a Book of Mormon also.  We invited her to be baptized but she wasn't sure because she doesn't know if she'll still be in KK by that time.  (Her friend accepted, though!!)  But it was a really cool experience. Meeting them again soon also.

Oh also, while we were teaching these two girls the Restoration (in a restaurant outside), there was a boy who was cleaning up a nearby table and he stopped to look and listen to us.  We thought he was Muslim so we were hoping he would leave actually, but after we finished the lesson he came up and told us that he was Christian and that he wanted to meet with us the next day.  So basically he referred himself.  He is FULL of questions about religion, and he accepted a baptismal invitation and picked his own date.  So that was so awesome!!!  There are prepared people out there.  Faithful prayer and fasting brings about stuff like this.

Our zone is doing this thing where we make sure there are missionaries fasting for the missionary work every Sunday--like KK fasts every 2nd Sunday of the month.  So there's always someone fasting for us on Sundays.  It's working.  Not kidding.  Heavenly Father is amazing and indeed fulfills his promises.

Fast and pray. It works.  That's all.  Life here will never be without its challenges.  But God will be with us and will make our burdens light.  He is a God of miracles.  I bear testimony of that.  (As does the Book of Mormon.  Remember Mormon chapter 9?)

Sister Gopinath

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Justification is the intellectual drug that anesthetizes the sting of conscience."

So Zone Conference was amazing!   It was so fun to get to see some of my Elder friends from the MTC :) The missionaries in this mission are really amazing.  I felt like I'm in a room full of my brothers (and a few sisters as well).  We are united in cause, and it's so happy to see each other and see that we're all still going, still fighting in this (epic spiritual) war.  I felt so happy, like I was walking on the clouds.  In KK, we hardly ever see other missionaries.  It was really strengthening to be around such a big group of other missionaries (maybe 70 of us). :)

President Clark is an INSPIRED man.  I'm sorry to everyone who doesn't have him as their Mission President.  He gave the conference on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.    It was very in-depth and very touching.  Some things I wrote down include:

- The Atonement grants us grace, freedom, motivation, succor, repentance, peace of conscience, exaltation, personal resoration/healing, the Resurrection...
- Life is progress.  Death is damnation, or stopped progress.
- Alma 42-43 explains why we needed an Atonement
- D&C 84:38, the Plan of Salvation was created to qualify us to receive ALL that the Father has.
- The Atonement covers anxiety that comes from exercising faith.
- "Justification is the intellectual drug that anesthetizes the sting of conscience." - Tad R. Callister
- Repentance is burning desire to make amends with God at any cost.
- Do you believe only in Christ's identity as our Savior/the Son of God, or do you ACTUALLY believe in His power to cleanse, purify, and heal you?
- Alma 33:16 teaches us to accept the Atonement by forgiving ourselves.  Don't put yourself above God by holding yourself accountable for past mistakes.

That doesn't even do it justice, it was just a really inspiring conference.  President Clark cares so much about his missionaries.  I'm going to be really sad when he goes home this summer!

Also thoughts on Bintulu: very rural!  It made me think of the outskirts of Tennessee.  Haha.  It was really pretty.  There is no chapel, so the church space (our conference was there) was an office area underneath a daycare.  It was a very humble setting but the Spirit was for sure still there.

So there's this investigator!!!  His name is Bikram, and he referred himself to us. It was a miracle.  But first let's back up... We had met his sister Shanti by knocking, and she invited us in to teach her 6-yr-old daughter Kathy.  They are all Indian (!!) originally from Kuala Lumpur but have lived in England for a while.  Shanti thought we were Catholic sisters (the reason why is beyond me), but we still agreed to teach Kathy and did our best to let her know we were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was fine, and we taught Kathy about prayer and prophets.  Until our second visit, Shanti asked, "After you're done with Kathy's lesson, can you stay so we can ask you some questions?"   We were scared that something was wrong/the questions would be to make sure we were Catholic.  But we finished our lesson with Kathy and told Shanti she could ask us questions.  She said okay, and instead of asking herself she went up and called her brother Bikram (who we had only met briefly before) to come downstairs.  He seems to be in his early 30's, he's a single doctor.  He is new to Christianity, he was Hindu before.  He had TONS of burning questions about God and the Gospel.  He was really sincere and looking for answers.  We made a return appointment with him, and soon we found out that actually none of these people were Catholic (so it was not a problem when they found out we also were not).  Shanti and Bikram both agreed to meet us again, and we did on Sunday.  They had so many questions we covered SO much material (repentance, baptism, Heaven, judgment, the nature/identity of God and Jesus Christ, prophets), showed them the Restoration movie, gave them a Book of Mormon with an assigned chapter, invited them to pray.  I told Bikram that he could pray to God, asking Him specific questions, and that God would answer.   He said, "I think I can really use that."  I am really excited to see where this goes!  We are going to meet them again soon and plan to invite them to be baptized next month.

Being a missionary is great.  The Gospel is the best thing ever.  The Atonement is the most important thing that exists.  Period.  I know that everything I teach people is completely true.

Romans 8 is a really cool selection.

Sister Gopinath

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tinggi tinggi Gunung Kinabalu, tinggi lagi sayang sama kamu.

<(Editor's Note:   The post title means "Very high Mount Kinabalu, very high I love you.")

Hello!  This was a pretty fun week.  Lots of teaching appointments.  Oh and also Flower got baptized! It was great, but she was so nervous.  She was about to be baptized, but she instead waited in the bathroom for a minute (we all started wondering where she was) so I went into the bathroom to see if something was wrong, but I found that she was in there praying.  She told me she was too happy, she was on the verge of tears and afraid she would cry.  I told her not to be afraid but to go.  She did, and later she said that as soon as she went into the font, all of her nerves were gone and she was peaceful.  Her good friend that referred her was the one that baptized her.  It was a beautiful day.  Now she's made up her mind that she wants to bring her mom, so we're going to go meet her soon.  Yeah!!!  Flower is so solid.  She is the kind that's going to stay faithful to the end.  With huge miracles like Flower, I really feel like I didn't do anything.  I didn't expect that before my mission--for every miracle I experience, I never feel like it was me who did it (which, obviously it wasn't me).  I'm just so blessed that I was there to see it.

Oh,so really quick, remember how I was talking about not looking at the ground but at looking ahead as I walk?  Well a few days ago I just walked into someone's throw-up.  Gross for sure, but really funny.  I guess not looking at the ground has it's dangers, but I'm still not gonna stop looking people in the eyes. :)

So I was reading in the Teachings of George Albert Smith, there's this chapter about missionary work that was really touching.  It was said about him that although he was an apostle and later a prophet, it was apparent from being with him that he was first and foremost a missionary for His Lord.  He never missed an opportunity to share principles of the restored gospel with friends and strangers alike--he would talk religion with even a chimney sweep that came to his house.  It was said, "For him, that was the ultimate kindness, for the restored gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was the most precious gift he had to give."  To me that was touching.  I need to have my heart always full of concern for others, and the Spirit of the Lord so the gospel really is always on the tip of my tongue.  I want to become like this as a person, not only as a missionary.  It really is the ultimate kindness, the most valuable thing we have, and the best thing we could offer to anyone. 

I'm realizing again and again how important humility is for me in all aspects of my life.  Everything goes smoother, when I have lowliness of heart.  If I am prideful in my heart, there's only room for me and things in front of me.  When I'm humble, only then is there enough space within me for the Spirit of God and the things of eternity.  Only then is my vision clear, and I have strength to put off the things of the world, obey God, love, and deal well with life's challenges. 

Also 2 Nephi 9 is a really cool chapter.

God lives, He is our Father.  I know that directly from Him.  The Book of Mormon is of God and is everything it claims to be.  I know that, as well, directly from Heavenly Father.  You can too (if you already know, you can know again) if you work for it.  And once we know truth, it's time to live it.  Let's go.

Sister Gopinath 

P.S. We (KK missionaries) are going to Sarawak (Bintulu) tomorrow for 2 days, for a Zone Conference with President Clark! :D  So excited!