Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Miracle Week in Cheras

So another miracle week. You know how I dreamed about how we would invite Devi to be baptized? Well, we did it, and it happened just like my dream, only better. We taught the doctrine of baptism and he understood well. He was looking at the ground thinking, and I asked him, "Would you follow Jesus Christ by being baptized?" He then looked me in the eyes and said, "Of course!" as if he'd just been waiting for someone to ask. We told him what needs to happen and we made a plan for him to quit smoking. He is amazing. Yesterday we met him again and he told us, "I love Jesus. Not [just] now--long time already. If I no meet you, I don't know how to follow--I don't know anything. Now is my chance. Now is my time to get [on] my straight path to God." I feel so privileged to be teaching him. Oh, also we gave him a Book of Mormon this past weekend and he is already halfway through Mosiah. That's right.

We also had another miracle in that someone named Anton called us and wanted to meet up. We both had no idea who it was, only that in the phone his named was saved as an investigator. So we met him at a park, and found out that he was a former investigator who could name off all of these missionaries--he told us he "was supposed to be baptized" but it didn't happen because he couldn't come to church for a while, and he got lost after some missionary transfers (which is frustrating). But we talked to him more and invited him to be baptized again. He made sacrifices to come to church on Sunday and he has been diligently reading the Book of Mormon. 

Also, we have a baptism coming up this Sunday. :) Anton, the sweet Chinese man who works at McDonald's. He had his interview last night at the church, and there were strong feelings of love in that building. We are really excited for him. On Sunday he packed and brought a sandwich from home to church so he wouldn't have to go out and buy anything after church. He has great faith.

Life is great. We have some things good things that are going to be happening.

So now... spiritual thoughts? I heard an analogy-story this week that left an impression on me. There was a man who worked for a train station, and a fork in the road at which the train tracks split. He was in charge of flipping the switch whenever certain trains came, so they would go in the right direction. One day the train was coming, so he flipped the switch. But soon he noticed that something wasn't right--there was a piece of the track that was out of place, and would be a disaster if the train ran into that track--all the people on the train would die. So he ran outside to manually pull the track into its proper place and hold it there until the train passed. The train was approaching, and as he was holding the track he noticed his young son on the track a little way off. He was now faced with the decision of whether to hold the track together and save all the people on the train, or save his son and let all the people on the train die. He chose to save the people on the train. His son was killed, and everyone on the train lived. But no one on the train realized what had happened. No one had seen the little boy playing on the track, and no one noticed the father lying on the side of the track weeping.

This is like our Heavenly Father, who sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ. Imagine how He feels when we don't recognize or believe in or partake of the Sacrifice that was made for each one of us. How must He feel when we don't think about that Sacrifice every single day of our lives. That because of Jesus Christ and what he was subjected to, each of us may live. 

Romans 8:32-39. 

The main difference with this story is that in real life, that Son rose again three days later. I know that He lives and through Him and the Infinite Love of Him and His Father, we can be free and live forever, if we will but follow Him.

Sister Gopinath

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"And That Was His Prayer. AHHHH!"

So this week was crazy! First of all we have a new investigator who I am in love with (missionary kind of love, haha). His name is Deba, and he is from Bangalore, India (the same place as my family!!). I don't even know what to tell you first. He has been in Malaysia for 7 years, and he met Sister Pinkston and her old companion a few days before I got there (but I was there the first time we went back) because the way they usually went home was blocked off and they were lost. So, he helped them and told them they could come by any time.

So Deba lived in Kalkata (Calcutta) for a while when he was younger and lived on the same street as Mother Teresa. Yeah, he personally knew Mother Teresa and her example left an impression on him. So although he was raised Hindu, since he was young he has had a soft spot for Jesus Christ. He told us the first time I met him, "I am very interested in this. I don't know anything, and I need you to teach me." We invited him to come to church, and he told us, "I have to go there. I will definitely come!" And he did come. He came, and it was the first time he had ever been to a Christian church in his life. He saw pictures of the Savior on the wall, and we sat by him in sacrament meeting and he followed along with the hymns. Our mission president, President Clark was visiting our branch this Sunday, and gave a wonderful talk about the Savior. Afterwards, President Clark came and talked to Deba, asking him what he felt about church. Deba said he felt a sense of unity, of familial love. And then yesterday we met with Deba again and I asked him myself what he thought about church. He said, "I was not nervous. Even [though] it was my first time, I didn't feel scared. I was calm, you introduced me and sat by me. And when I was in the church, I thought to myself, 'I feel like I have been here before. I feel like this is not my first time.' This Sunday I will come again and I will understand more." I wanted to shout to the world my love for this person!!! He is SO prepared. We stopped by and gave him a Book of Mormon, which he already has a great respect for. We taught him who God is and taught him how to pray, after which he eagerly offered the first prayer he had ever given in his life. He said, "Heavenly Father, I am so happy. I am so happy about Jesus Christ." And that was his prayer. AHHHH!!!!! And he is from my dad's hometown!!! There's nowhere I'd rather be than here. This morning I woke up, dreaming about how we will invite him to be baptized tomorrow. Prepared souls. So much love.

Also, this week I went to Singapore to "chop visa" and went out proselyting with a few of the sisters in Singapore. It is legal to teach Singaporean Malays (they are Muslim), and so I went to a lesson with a Singaporean Malay man named Zul (say Zool). It was a very different experience, never having taught anyone from his culture/mindset before. He was very sweet, has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and wants help to stop smoking so he can be baptized. We testified of Heavenly Father's love and awareness of him, and of the power of prayer in overcoming temptation. When you testify of something as precious as that, to someone individually, you see that person differently. I loved him in a way I had never loved a Muslim before (because of not being able to teach them until this time). It was a sweet experience, with feelings I hadn't felt before. God's love is real. He loves each and every single one of His children.

I found an amazing quote yesterday, and I want to share it and I'll end for this week. It's about spirituality. 

"Every noble impulse; every unselfish expression of love; every brave suffering for the right; every surrender of self to something higher than self; every loyalty to an ideal; every unselfish devotion to principle; every helpfulness to humanity; every act of self-control; every fine courage of the soul, undefeated by pretense of policy, but by being, doing, and living of good for the very good's sake--that is spirituality." - David O. McKay

That's how people prepare... prepare to meet the missionaries, prepare to be baptized or have a family or receive a place in God's kingdom. Through those choices.

The Gospel is true.

Sister Gopinath

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Am I the One You're Looking For?"

So first of all I have to mention how amazing General Conference was. It was a different experience watching conference as a missionary in the field.  I felt more connected to all of the prophets and apostles, because of how much I've thought of them as I testify of them almost daily.  I have realized a lot how important it is for me personally that there is a prophet to whom God speaks today, and through whom I receive direction and instruction that I know comes right from my Father.  I felt changed after the conference. I felt instructed of things such as the importance of family, prayer, true conversion, the blessings of sacrifice, and forgiveness.  One of my favorite talks was President Uchtdorf's talk about loving and forgiving others ("not judging").  I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately and realize that I need to do it more than I even realized.  Like, when people in the bus do something rude, or someone you know makes a mistake.  I liked the bumper sticker "Don't hate me because I sin differently than you do." It's true.  Sometimes we even think badly of people because they have the same sins/weaknesses as we do.  Christ's way is to let go and remember that we all depend on One.  Alex Boye said once, "Because of Jesus Christ, I can forgive and be forgiven."  What a beautiful and simple and spiritually healing principle is forgiveness. I'm sincerely grateful for a Savior who taught us to forgive each other.

Things are good in Cheras, and going to get better.  We are teaching a 40+ single Chinese man named Anton, who is the sweetest soul ever. He works at McDonald's.  He has some kind of condition, so he is like a young boy in an older body.  But he can understand what we teach him and he ALWAYS comes to church and does nice things for us and tells people he loves them.  He is full of love and happiness.  He wants to be baptized and "serve Jesus all [his] life."  He so sincerely wants to do what is right and true, it is an inspiration and a joy to teach him and help him prepare to make the covenant his humble heart is so willing to enter.

We are also teaching a little old Indian man named Kripala, who is also so sweet and a little kooky.  He loves and trusts the missionaries and wants what is right, and has smoked since he was 12 years old but is finally beginning to stop so he can be baptized.   He's gone from 20 cigarettes a day to almost half, and yesterday he smoked 5.  He's always a joy to teach... I'm not sure whether or not he has teeth. He's another person I wish you could just meet.  He always sings.  When the missionaries found him, he was sitting in the park singing "Am I the One You're Looking For." :)

Not much else has been going on, a lot of technical things (apartment, visa, etc.) finally almost done so we can get into the "groove" of this area after mass transfers in the mission.

Life is good, KL is wonderful, the Gospel is true. God hears our prayers.  The scriptures are powerful spiritual protection against temptation.  Our families are the most precious of our possessions.  Easter came and went, and I know that we will each be resurrected one day because Jesus Christ paved the way.

Sister Gopinath

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pictures of Kuala Lumpur Area Missionaries March 2012

Pictures, she sent pictures.  Of course someone else took them.  Why did we buy her a camera?  She is in the blue dress, front and center.

First Picture:  Mission Tour KL Ipoh Sisters Iban (the caption reads)
Second Picture:  Mission Tour IL Ipoh
Third Picture: Mission Tour Kuala Lumpur March 2012 Kampung Face
Fourth Picture:  Mission Tour Kuala Lumpur March 2012

I think some of the labels aren't right!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Their Entire Lives Are A Miracle

So I got "transferred" again, this time because it was normal transfer time.  I will not move apartments or cities, but I went from having the northern half of KL as my area to having the southern half.  So new branch, new companion.  My companion's name is Sister Pinkston, and she's cool.  She's from Southern California, has been a missionary for half the amount of time that I have, and she is awesome.  This is the first time I've been transferred that I haven't whitewashed, which will be super nice, and also this is the 3rd time I've been transferred in 4 weeks.  So... hopefully I stay here for a while. The branch is called Cheras. :)

The last few days have been incredible. We teach this recent convert named Johnson, he and his family are refugees from Pakistan.  He was a Christian all his life, and he found the church here in Malaysia through a member.  He has been touched by the love and care he received from the church members, and his commitment to the Gospel is so strong.  He leads his family--none of them are baptized yet (wife and two amazing boys) but we think it won't be long.  He brings them to church every week and teaches them.  Their family has been through SO much, and they have sacrificed EVERYTHING to stay together as a family.  Everything about them is a miracle. I wish you could meet this family, I wish I had the words to describe. They are the sweetest, warmest, happiest, strongest little family.  And they cook delicious Pakistani food for us, even though they have almost nothing.

This week we met mostly Iranian and Pakistani - as well as some Saudi Arabia and small surrounding countries - people (also one of our new members/best friends in the branch is from Iran) and they are AMAZING.  They are kind and warm and open and loving and family-oriented people.

Johnson and his family gave us a miracle also.  When we went to their house, we got there and Johnson said "We invited another family for you tonight, if that's okay."  Like that isn't every missionary's DREAM!  Their names are Nida and Zeeshan.  They are also Christian Pakistani refugees who have been in Malaysia for 2 months.  They have a small daughter.  They. are. amazing.  So humble and sweet and kind.  We had a lesson on strengthening our families, which seemed to ring true for them, and with great encouragement and support and testimony from Brother Johnson (there is a FIRE in that man), they came to church and felt they have found what they've been searching for, and basically asked if they could be baptized in a few weeks.  They made us write down the announcements from sacrament meeting so they could know the times/info for all the upcoming activities because they made up their minds that they want to be a part of it.  They requested copies of the Book of Mormon (p.s. they speak Urdu, so we gave it to them in Urdu!  Isn't that awesome?)  They are committed and incredible.  Their entire lifes is a miracle.  Everything about them is a miracle--the fact they're alive, they're here, they met Johnson and they met us.  Zeeshan didn't come from a Christian background but has had an unusual fascination with Jesus Christ since he was a small child.  He was the only one in his family--he has just always been interested and thinking about Jesus Christ.  So he became a Christian when he was studying in Ireland and has read the entire Bible. They are just the most incredible prepared family ever.  There was an instant love for them.

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to be here, and I'm sad to leave this area but I'm excited for what's coming with the Cheras area.  I know more miracles are waiting to come about.

I know we have a Father in Heaven that guides us and hears and answers our prayers. We are in His hands every day. If we follow Him and hold onto Him and trust Him, it doesn't matter what happens to us--we will be guided, protected, and blessed and our lives will be sanctified.

Sister Gopinath