February 15, 2016
It's only been a few short days since I last emailed, but there is still so much to talk about!!
Our investigator Yang Kai got confirmed in church this last week! He is so enthusiastic, and loves sharing things in class and bearing his testimony. He really likes rabbits, so he has all this playboy brand clothing for the bunny sign its so funny haha he just has on his funny smile with like a play boy jacket on haha, he just searches bunny or rabbit clothes online then buys them. But he is going to be a solid member! I'm so happy for him!
Our buddy Jason who we found on the street a few weeks back is doing really really well, I am just so impressed by him and his desire to learn, it is such a testimony to me that there really are prepared people out there for us, we just have to be willing to open our mouth and talk with everyone, which isn't always very easy! At church this week after seeing all the stuff with Yang Kai, he leaned over to me and said, can I get baptized sooner?? He is really excited, and has huge desire to have a testimony, which makes it such a pleasure to teach him and be friends with him! His current date is April 3rd, but we are hoping to get him baptized sometime in March!
The work in our branch is really starting to speed up, and the branch it seems is starting to step up to make the work go even better! A few weeks ago the Branch President asked us to make a branch mission plan, so we all spent a lot of time making a very thorough and detailed plan that basically ended up being a Branch everything plan, the Branch President was really impressed, and I think we helped him sort of change his view of missionaries. It's a good step in the right direction! I'm really proud of everyone in the district working together to make something that will help the whole branch and help us have better relationships!
I went on District Leader Zone Leader exchanges last week with Zone Leader Elder Buss in the international work, and had a few really great experiences. We taught one couple who are from Sri Lanka, and don't really speak English, all they have is a copy of the Book of Mormon in their language, so we basically taught them all through scripture. It was so amazing to hear them discussing what they read with one another in their language, and just to see their countenances brighten with the light of understanding as they were taught by the best teacher, the scriptures, and the Holy Ghost. It reminded me again the power of simplicity, and the scriptures. They are getting baptized next month!
In our mission we have something called the Ballard Plan, which Elder Ballard set when he was here about a year ago, part of that plan was to have everyone try their best to talk to 10 people outside of finding time, so that means on buses, the MTR, walking to lessons etc, which are always the hardest places to talk to people. My companion and I have had a goal for along time to get those 10, and the Lord has blessed us! A month or more ago, we were on the train, and started talking with this guy Collins, from Africa. We got his information and gave it to the international Elders, and kinda forgot about it. Then, when I was on exchanges, I learned that Collins has been loving the gospel, and will be getting baptized next month! I feel blessed to get to see this seed growing and bearing fruit, because most of the time we don't get to see the good we do. I feel like it was a tender mercy, reminding me we really never know the effects of our actions. But Heavenly Father always blessed us when we strive to do what He asks of us.
This brings me to something that I really liked that was shared at our Zone training by the couples missionary, Elder James. It is an old Chinese story, and it goes something like this:
A long time ago in in China there was an old village. In that village lived Master Wu, he was the only one in the village who had a horse. All the villagers would praise Master Wu, saying Oh Master Wu, you are so lucky to have a horse! One day, his horse broke out of the stall and ran away. All the villagers came to Master Wu and said, Oh Master Wu, you are so unlucky, your horse has run away! We feel so sorry for you! Master Wu said, perhaps. The next day his horse returned, bringing two other horses with it! All the villagers came and said, Oh Master Wu, you are so lucky! Your horse has brought such good fortune to you! Master Wu said, perhaps. The next day, Master Wu's only son was trying to tame one of the new horses, and it bucked him off, breaking his leg. All the villagers came and said Oh Master Wu, you are so unlucky! Now you have no able heir for your land! We feel so sorry for you! Master Wu said, perhaps. The next day the army came through and took every able bodied young man to go fight in a war. Master Wu's son was not taken. All the villagers came to Master Wu and said, Oh Master Wu, you are so lucky! Your son has gotten to stay! And do you know what Master Wu said in response? Perhaps.
I think there is a powerful principle in that story. We always must suspend judgement on our circumstances, on our trials, hardships, and weaknesses, because we simply don't know what the outcome will be. But we can use them to grow. I feel that the mission, and even life, is a lot like Master Wu's experience. Sometimes everything seems to be going great! And then just like that, everything is hard, tiring, and confusing. But we don't know what the next day will bring, when we endure hardships or weaknesses well, relying on our Savior and his perfect love, the next day could bring blessings from the previous days hardships. I know this to be a true principle, especially on my mission. Hard times are here for us to learn, so when current situations are hard, we don't need to complain or feel sorry or feel that we deserve more, instead, we can say perhaps right now is hard, but perhaps tomorrow will be better, and then walk through those times with Christ by our side, and come out with new understanding. I am grateful for a loving Savior who would willingly descend below the very lowest person to ever live on this Earth, so that he could lift all of us. I am grateful for this mission which has taught me so many lessons already, the most important of which is that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the Savior of the world, he atoned for every single person, and though perhaps our circumstances may not be any better tomorrow than they were today, we can be better tomorrow than we were today. I can't comprehend the love that he must have for all of us, as well as how intimately knows each and everyone one of us. I can't comprehend how he must have felt in the Garden of Gethsemane, as he knelt, bled, bore, and experienced everything, every pain, sadness, cruelty, hopelessness, and tragedy that the world and opposition can inflict. His love is infinite, it allowed him to do that, and allows us to be forgiven, and cleansed. I've probably said this a thousand times on my mission to investigators, members, missionaries, and these letters home, but it's because I know it's true, and because Christ and his atoning sacrifice are the center of my life.
Thank you all for the support, I love hearing from everyone and hope everyone has a wonderful week!