Sunday, September 30, 2012
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.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
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!
Sunday, September 16, 2012
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.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
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!
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
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.