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


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 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