January 28, 2016
I know everyone was clamoring for my letter on Monday and that the general public was pretty disappointed when it didn't come, but no worries, I have P'day today because we went to the temple today!
I had a good experience with the warning of the Spirit last week! My companion and I decided to take this bridge shortcut across a highway that looked really abandoned, no one ever uses the bridge because the walks are more convenient but we wanted to see if it was faster. When we got up however, I felt like something was really wrong. It smelled really bad and I saw all these sketchy shacks. The further we walked, the worse I felt. We got up to these shacks and this women popped up out of the back and scared me so bad, her face was all sunken and her hair was falling out, we saw another man with the same creepy look, and we saw that he was melting these black sticks like heroin or something on tin foil, and he had out this big knife. Super sketchy. My comp is pretty innocent guy so bless him he went up to them to give them a pamphlet, but I just felt prompting like LEAVE NOW so I just grabbed him and we booked it haha it was pretty intense all these crazy drug people just have a little house place on a bridge. But the Spirit always warns! Glad we didn't stop to talk any more.
On to the safer part of the week (don't worry mom :-), this week is full of too many amazing experiences and miracles to be able to recount, but I'll start with our new buddy Jason! We had a little bit of time left for finding one night, so we decided to go out again in Mong Kok. We went out finding and people we're just rejecting us like crazy, I always ask if people can speak mandarin, then if they say no, then I try to start talking a little in Cantonese, but people we're not having it. Then we stopped Jason. He immediately struck up conversation and wanted to go somewhere quieter to talk, so we went over to some tables. He was very interested, and since that day last week we have taught him 3 times, he came to church, and gladly accepted a baptismal date! The Lord truly sends his prepared children our way, we just have to be ready to receive them, and never be afraid to open our mouths! I think about what if at that moment I just decided not to say hi to him because everyone before for the last hour hadn't even stopped, he would've walked right by, and not gotten to hear some of the message of Christ that he was searching for. It was a powerful testimony to me to always be willing to preach the Lord's gospel, it's what I was called here to do. He is such a great guy though, he is also 19, and from Guangdong, so he speaks both Cantonese and Mandarin perfectly. He will be a great asset here in the future, helping the Mandarin mainlander and Hong Kong people relations. There has been a lot of tension in Hong Kong lately about mainland China and Hong Kong. But I can really feel that the Lord is hastening his work here. It's sometimes feels like a lot of pressure, right now the number of mandarin missionaries feels to be a little low, my last companion Elder Ma just finished along with another guy going home, and we have no replacements being sent in the upcoming weeks, so I sometimes feel stretched thin over my area with my companion and I and the responsibilities, but it has enabled me to rely on the Lord far more. It can be overwhelming to handle it all, but I know it's as the Prophet Thomas S. Monson says, "the Lord qualifies those He calls," and if there is anyone that needs qualifying right now, it's definitely me haha. But somehow every day goes by and I feel the Lord's influence in the days when I am most focused and obedient. For that I am most grateful.
I really love being the district leader in this area because I am closest to Kowloon Tong building, which is where we do mainland baptisms, so I am often called down to do interviews and help conduct the meetings or baptize or confirm. It can be a little stressful too, but it is so amazing to interview all these people, see their testimonies and hear of the sacrifice of them and their families to allow them to get here to be baptized, and to hear what the church is like in mainland. It's just a whole different world over there, and the stories and examples I have seen just amaze and humble me every week. The members in mainland are amazing, and I wish I could tell you all more about it. Needless to say, the Lord is hastening his work in China as well, and always provides his children with a way to find the truth, regardless of the situation. He loves all His children.
We took our strongest investigator Yang Kai to the temple the other day to lok around and teach him a little bit about it. He was so excited and was taking pictures of it and was just so excited about it. He gets baptized on the 7th, and we set a goal for his temple attendance too! He seems like he will be a really strong member in it for the long run, which is so good! There is no point in baptizing someone if they are just going to go la, so we are working our hardest to make sure he is truly ready, and that he will have the support to last, though it is not easy. We are blessed to have a temple in our mission, and a new rule that President Lam has said is that we can go through the temple with the people we baptize! I really hope I have that opportunity sometime in my mission. I love the temple, and have truly learned here on my mission more of the significance of it all, truly it is the Lord's house.
Finally I had a rather touching lesson with a former investigator of about 10 years ago. I went on exchanges within the district last week to evaluate an Elder, and Elder Sy ended up being in my area. He called some formers while here, and set up a lesson with an the old guy Chen. I got to meet Chen with my companion on Sunday and it was a powerful lesson. He smelled quite heavily of smoke and was a little bit of a crust type older guy, and he told us that 10 years ago, Elders with the same names as me and Elder Grayam had taught him, and that one of them promised him that missionaries would never forget him, no matter the outcome of their meetings. He had stopped meeting them, and a divorce, a few poor choices, and lots of hardship later, we got to meet with him. After hearing his story we bore testimony that God never forgets His children. Though we may deny Him, leave Him, or out right reject His very existence, God will never do the same for us. The Lord's hand is always outstretched to us to be pulled back to our Father. As we promised him this the Spirit was so powerful. He said it was time for him to pray again, to read the holy scriptures, and to come to church. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted. He was so humble and I just felt so much love for him. I know that we are never forgotten no matter where we are in the walk of life. No matter the paths, twists, and turns that we take, we can take comfort in knowing that God never forgets His Children, and in the perfect Atonement of Christ, the Lord our Savior will never forget any second of any pain that we experience because he perfectly suffered through every single second of it for every single one of us. He descended below all of us, that when he rose we all might rise with Him.
I can feel the support of the Lord in this area, and it's carrying us through and blessing us with success! thank you all for the prayers, letter, packages;) and everything, it is much appreciated! And don't worry fam when I went to the temple today I could still fit size 30 np waist #blessed