Week 105! October 24, 2016
This is my last letter! Isn’t that weird? My mission has come to an end and my final full week as a missionary was awesome. I’m sad I won’t be here for our mission’s white Christmas. Sibu has a ton of potential!
Highlights of this week:
We finally met with a potential I met on the bus coming from Bintulu to Sibu when I was getting transferred. I talked to her for a long time and she’s really nice. Yesterday we taught her and she seemed really sincere and listened intently. I think she has a lot of potential and she had a lot of questions, like “why are there so many different churches”. She’s awesome.
Yesterday Elder Barlow and I fasted. Elder Barlow said he’s going to fast every Sunday until the end of the year. I have a testimony of fasting. We actually didn’t have the best plan and our investigator who told us he would come to church didn’t come. We came home after church to do some personal study, after we tried calling some less-active members and potentials who we were hoping to visit, but they didn’t answer/didn’t have time. Then finally one of our potentials answered and we set up to meet with her. that was the one I just mentioned above. But we still didn’t know what we were going to do after we met her. So we left our house, while we were biking I was just saying a prayer in my heart. I knew we didn’t have the best plan and that was our fault, but at least were fasting. I thought that had to mean something, right? It also looked like it was going to rain and one of our former investigators texted us and told us that is was going to rain. Haha Chinese people and rain. We always see our neighbor next door, a little Chinese auntie. She’s really nice. She always talks to us. The other day we helped her pick some coconuts from a tree outside. She says stuff like (in Mandarin) “Oh, you’re going out”, “Are you going to the church?”, and of course when it’s raining she says, “It’s raining!” or “It’s going to rain” Haha good times. I’m going to miss Chinese people.
So anyway, we went to teach that potential. Our lesson was pretty long. She just had so many questions and it was last time to see her. So after I sort of felt bad, then we went to a shopping center called Sing Kwong. I wanted to show it to Elder Barlow. I actually don’t remember ever going inside before. We went there, tried to talk to some people, then we met a group of 9 kids (ages 18-22). They all seemed really nice so we started talking to them. I think they actually said hello to us first. They were all guys besides for one who was one of their wives. The happy couple has been married for 3 weeks. They are all Christian, but don’t go to church. I think half of them are from Kapit. Some are here studying and I think most of them are working. They have time in the evenings and they don’t work on Sundays. Perfect! They also said they want to come to e\English class. It would be huge if we had them come to English class and church. I’m excited for Sibu. I think this Christmas is going to be very “white”.
On Friday we met this lady, who I always talk to at the park in the morning, and her son. It was a miracle that we bumped into them. I actually never knew her name, but we got to meet them. She is really nice and her son, who is 18 years old, is also really cool. They are sort of Christian, but they haven’t been to church for a long time. I think they have a lot of potential.
Our Halloween party was also really fun! I think it was the funnest party I’ve had in Sibu. We had a lot of non-members come. The lady and the son we met on Friday came! As well as some people from English class.
We met once with our investigator ***. He’s awesome. We invited him to be baptized and he said yes, but he had to ask his parents. We asked him, “if you know these things are true, what should you do?” The answer we were looking for “be baptized”, but he said “share it with others” I guess that works too haha. That would be cool if we could get him on a mission!
So basically we met a lot of awesome people, Sibu has a lot of potential, and now I have to leave.
Elder Barlow’s new trainer will be Elder Cook (my younger brother, trained by Elder South). I think Elder Cook will do really well with Elder Barlow. Sibu is in good hands 🙂
I think this is the longest email I’ve sent. I’ll try to write some inspirational stuff.
I know that God loves us. Jesus is the Christ. No man can serve two masters and we are free to choose. So choose God! Choose to be happy! Life is full of temptations, but it’s easy to choose the right when you know the right will make you happy and the wrong will make you sad. It’s like choosing between your favorite food and trash. Of course you’re going to choose to eat the food, not the trash. Each choice we make is important, but if the reason we make our choice is because we love God, then each choice we make will be good. I know this church is true. When we rely on the Atonement, we can do anything. As we account with God through prayer each day and plead for his help and truly “talk” with him, we will become closer to Him and we will be happy. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
See you in America!!!
Yay Missionary work! This last week was great. We saw a lot of miracles. Things are happening here in Sibu.
Sadly one of our progressing investigators *** dropped us. She was one of our two progressing investigators. I feel like that seems to happen quite often. You meet someone, they seem golden, maybe you even start teaching them, and then they suddenly don’t want or you lose contact with them. That’s always sad, but it happens, what can you do?
On the bright side, we saw some big miracles. One of them occurred Thursday. Before, I remember having the feeling that we should go to the library for some reason. Then after contacting these college students, who were also pretty cool, one was from Kenya, we decided to go to the library because we might find some prepared people there. It makes sense that the people who go to the library either care about school or they enjoy reading so they’ll be willing to read from The Book of Mormon. So that’s what we did. We actually didn’t have that much time, but we still went there. I feel like we were basically guided to a kid named ***. He was the first and only kid we talked to at the library. He is 19, attends college, reads the Bible and prays everyday, and is pretty open to learning. We didn’t have a Book of Mormon to give to him at the time so we set up an appointment for the next day. Then we taught him The Restoration and he committed to read The Book of Mormon everyday. *** is actually educated. He can read and enjoys reading, and has time to meet! *** is way cool. We’ll see what happens with him.
We also met with a Filipino named ***. He teaches at an international school here in Sibu. He’s a less-active Catholic. Church and religion hasn’t really played a role in his life, but he had a lot of questions (which were all answered by teaching The Restoration). He’s educated too!
This Sunday, we had 34 people at sacrament. That’s the most I’ve seen here in Sibu! I think we have maybe 20 active members and 20 less-actives (some very less-actives), but I’ve still seen them at church at least once or twice. Our goal at the beginning of this transfer was to have 40 people at sacrament. This week, we’ll try to call all the people and encourage them to come. It could happen. I want my last Sunday to be awesome!
I’m excited to see what happens because of the mission wide fast. I think we’ll have a “white Christmas” for sure.
I think one thing our district is still struggling with is finding people, I still have to try to “go crazy” and find some prepared people. I believe they’re out there and that we’re going to find them.
I can’t believe I only have one more week! I’ll try to make the most of it. I really want Sibu to change and progress. It’s sad to think I’ll have to leave Malaysia. Sibu is my home. My “birthplace” and “death-place”. But I guess I’m needed in America.
Thanks for reading one of my last updates! I’ll see you soon 🙂
This week went well. We had some good lessons and we have a couple of investigators who are progressing! I don’t think there has been a baptism in our branch this year and in the past there hasn’t been very many so a baptism for our branch would be huge! I think we’ll see some soon. We hope to have a “White Christmas” this year. It’s going to be great. Sadly, I won’t be here to see them, but I’ll try my best to leave my area better than I found at and leave it with some progressing, on date investigators.
We’v started involving the members more, so that’s been good. Our investigator *** is progressing slowly as well as Brother ***. We may start teaching ***’s coworkers as well. Lately, we’ve been teaching a lot of younger girls. I know that’s not the most ideal thing, obviously we need priesthood holders, so we’ll continue to look for them as well, but like I told you earlier, Pres. *** just told us to bring people into the church. I agree, we just need someone to come. Then the branch will be crazy about missionary work.
The time is really flying by. I don’t even know what we did this week. I know I’m getting close to end of my mission and I just don’t want to “die” early. I remember telling myself this at the start of mission. There were some missionaries who I could tell were pretty ready to be home. One of the elders who I served with who I “killed” was pretty dead. But I won’t “die” early. Elder Berry gave me some good advice. He told me to “just go crazy”. I’m at the end and now it’s time to go crazy.
It’s actually really weird. For the longest time, I didn’t want to go home, but now I’m actually excited. Not too excited that I won’t do missionary work though. I loved General Conference. It was the best. I learned a lot and my testimony increased. I love listening and watching living, modern day prophets. You just know that what they’re saying is true. I’m excited to share the gospel and get to know people as a normal person in America.
I’m also excited for this week. We should be able to get a lot of new investigators. We met some really nice people who were willing to meet, but then we just lost contact with them. We’ll focus more, this week, on finding.
The church is true! If you still haven’t watched General Conference, then watch it. It was awesome. That’s all for now.
Photo Credit t0 Elder Barlow (Max lost his camera)
This week was great! The ending of my mission has been a blast! I love Sibu!
I’m both excited and sad for this last month of my mission. It should be great though. We have a good vision for our area and branch. I hope to leave my area better than I found it. Yesterday, we talked with Pres. *** and asked him who our branch needed and what calling we needed filled. He just told us to find and people. We just need to start teaching a lot of lessons. I want Elder Barlow to be a really good teacher and in order to do that, we need to teach a lot of lessons.
I think the miracle of the week would have to be us starting to teach our new investigator ***. She is so awesome. She wants to be baptized. She has a few problems, but they should be able to be resolved. One problem is that she smokes, another is that she drinks (probably not that much), and she doesn’t have time to go to church right now, but she said she will be able to in the future and she wants to quit smoking. On the bright side, she has a lot of friends and we can probably teach a lot of them. I think she has a lot of potential. She is also one of the nicest people I’ve contacted.
Yay Sibu is changing! I can feel it. We’re going to see tons of miracles this month. I am so happy I could come finish my mission in Sibu.
We’ve been thinking about working with “the gold mine”. I think our “gold mine” doesn’t have that much gold in it. Of course I have faith that it has gold, but most of our members have been members for a while and what our branch needs is some new converts. Then we can teach the new converts’ friends. Our branch needs baptisms, but not just that, but real converts. People who can help us with missionary work.
We’re going to continue trying to find the people who are willing to receive us. I know we don’t only want to baptize young people, but young people are the future of the church and they have more free time to come help us after they’re baptized. They’re also normally more willing to meet. I feel like we’ll teach a lot of young people, but we’re still looking for families. Young people also have families though.
On Saturday, we had may last zone conference. It was great. It’s sad that it’s my last one. I really felt the Spirit and I love being with President and Sister Simmons. They’re the best.
This week was also really awesome! I think our area is progressing. We set an awesome vision for our area. Sibu should be seeing some real growth really soon. There haven’t been any baptisms in a while. This transfer we’re trying to build a really strong foundation and make a big teaching pool so future missionaries can Baptize Nations. Me may even get a baptism too.
I know it’s not all about baptisms, but I think that’s what our branch needs. Or at least they need some investigators at church. Our goal for this transfer is to have 40 people at sacrament. Last week, we had 23 and week before we had 27. It’ll be difficult, but I know we can do it.
On Wednesday, Elder Ngatikaura came to our area for exchanges. I think that was the best exchange I’ve been on. It was really great. Though all our appointments fell through and we didn’t meet with anyone we were planning on, we still saw tons of miracles and met some really prepared people. I really tried to contact people differently and be more willing to try new things. It was fun. We met a lot of nice people. One of the miracles we saw was that we met a lady from Indonesia. She is married to a Malaysian so she isn’t illegal. She is also Christian. She actually met with the missionaries before in Indonesia so she wants to be baptized! At least I think so. My Malay is really bad and I was talking to someone else when Elder Ngatikaura was talking to that lady. I realized how speaking both Malay and Mandarin is really helpful. Then you can actually talk with everyone. The native elders that are trilingual have a big advantage.
This week I’ve continued trying to connect with people and to become their friends. We’ve made a lot of friends. I don’t know if that is the best thing, but we’ll see. I can also talk to them when I return to America so I can continue to do missionary work there and help the church grow in Malaysia.
Next week, we hope to be able to meet with a lot of people and get a lot of new investigators. We’re also planning on following up with our investigators every morning and night to see if they have prayed. If not, we’ll pray with them. I haven’t really done this in the past, but I think it’s a good idea and other elders do this well. We’re trying to have really good How To Begin Teaching with our new investigators and start helping them change right from the beginning.
This week, I was reminded about something I learned recently from a couple of talks that both quoted Joseph Smith’s words from his lecture on faith. In order to have faith. We must first have at least the idea that God exists, which most people do. We must also have a correct understanding of god’s character, attributes, perfectness, etc and lastly understand that they way we’re living is in accordance with God’s will. Many people believe/ think God exists, but very few actually understand who God is and what he is like. We’ve been asking people and they really don’t know. So that’s what we’re trying to help people understand. We’re also helping people live in accordance to God’s will through learning and obeying his commandments. That’s what we do as missionaries! We help people develop faith, which also includes repentance, and baptism. It’s all connected! No wonder we teach about God during the first lesson. So many people don’t know who Heavenly Father truly is. Anyway, I love learning these kind of things. It increases my faith. Preach My Gospel is truly from God. God knows what we should teach people.
I hope we can help tons of people come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ this next coming week. It’s going to be great. Elder Barlow is solid. He’s going to be an amazing missionary. I’m lucky I can train him right now.
P-day is going to be awesome. We’re going to get ready to see miracles and obtain our goals. We actually already taught a lesson and received and contacted a referral this morning so we’re off to a great start.
I love the Lord. I love Heavenly Father. I know as we strive to live according to His will. We will truly be happy and feel His hand in our lives. We will be guided and become tools in His hands. Pray to know what you can do live in more accordance to God’s will. I know as you do this and have faith and don’t doubt, God will answer your prayer.
Thanks for reading!
This week was really awesome! I’m really excited that I get to train Elder Barlow. He’s awesome. He’s from Taylorsville, Utah. He just graduated. He’s a twin too! Except his twin is a girl. She’ll be going a mission too. They may even get home at the same time. I can feel the greenie fire that radiates from him and I can tell he has a true desire to serve the Lord. I think he’s going to be a great missionary. He’s obedient also. He understands his purpose as a missionary. I think both he and I will learn a lot this transfer. Training is the best. I enjoy having an extra hour for companion study and reviewing The First 12 Weeks booklet. I have to be at the top of my game all of the time. It really helps me work hard. I’m glad I have the chance to train right before I finish my mission. I’ve actually already learned a lot.
I’d like to share some things that I’ve learned recently:
I learned how important mastering your mission language is. I haven’t ever served with any elders who just came out of the MTC until now. Now I remember what I must have been like when I started my mission. I had just came out of the MTC, my Chinese wasn’t very good, and I didn’t really know what I was doing. Actually, I think Elder Barlow has a better idea and is a better missionary than I was when I started. Elder Barlow’s Chinese isn’t really that bad by MTC standards. I’m sure he studied hard in the MTC. Anyway, recently I feel like my Chinese has really improved. I’m not sure why. I’ve just been trying to talk with people and to really get to know them. I learned that I can actually have a good conversation with people. As I’ve done this, we’ve met some really nice people and they’ve been pretty open as well. A total opposite than when I started here. When I started here, both me and my trainers’ Chinese wasn’t very good and people didn’t really want to talk with us. I think a big reason for that is because when I started, I couldn’t just have a normal conversation with people; I could only teach. The problem is that you have to connect with people before you can teach them.
I also learned some other things while I was contacting someone at a mall. She was 20+ (probably 27 or 28), Buddhist (sort of), hadn’t attended college, and had been working at the mall for about 4 or 5 years. We said hello to her and then walked by her and then I remembered her. I remember seeing her when I served here a year and a half ago. So I started talking to her and asked her questions to see what she believes in and what she thinks the purpose of life is. She, like many other people, believes that all religions are good. She’s attended church before, but is Buddhist because her parents are. The reason she is Buddhist is because it’s a habit and she’s used to it (I think that’s how you would translate it from Chinese into English). I asked her if she thinks she has a good life direction and she said not really. The work she’s doing right now isn’t really a career, it’s just a job. Then I asked her if she wants to change and she said she wants to (or wishes to), but that she doesn’t think she can because it’s already a habit.
I think many people are like this. People know what the most important things in life are, they know what they need to do, but they lack commitment. Habits are hard to break. Especially without the Lord’s help. She said we could come back and teach her. I hope she has enough commitment to change. She said she wants to. And she doesn’t work on Sunday 🙂
So I’d say we saw a lot of miracles. We met a lot of nice people. Before English class on Friday, we were biking and I said hello to and actually rode past her on my bike, but I felt like we actually needed to talk with her. It turns out she is from China, is currently investigating the Catholic church, and really wants to learn English! She doesn’t speak any English. We’ll see if we can meet with her and share the gospel.
My faith continues to increase. I love the gospel and I love the people of Malaysia. I know there are prepared people here in Sibu. Elder Barlow and I are going to see tons of miracles this transfer. I’m excited.
This week was really good! We saw some pretty awesome miracles. Sibu is great.
Miracle of the week:
One day it was raining and we weren’t really that excited to go out. We went outside and Elder Sabin had the idea of going over to visit our neighbors who lived two houses down. They had said hi to us multiple times before. So we went over and they invited us in. They are really nice. It turns out that they just moved into their house about a month ago. The mother’s name is *** (that’s what she told us to call her) We call her Sister ***. She has 12 children! Only 9 of her children currently live with her. Her youngest is 8 years old. We taught them the “cupsteration” (the object lesson using cups to teach the restoration). It went really well. The also came to our mid-Autumn festival party. The kids are actually really well behaved and they listen to us when we teach them.
We’ve also met some pretty cool potential investigators who are willing to meet. This next week should be awesome. I’m excited.
We tried doing some less-active hunting, but we didn’t really find anyone.
This last transfer I learned more about relying on the Lord. We are only tools. All we have to do is try to sanctify ourselves and try our best and the Lord will do the rest. Though when someone doesn’t want to sanctify himself and willing disobeys things
Yesterday was pretty crazy. We went over to a shop where one of our less-actives works. She wasn’t there, only her husband. After, we met this really interesting weird guy who lived near to where one of our members, named Bro. ***, used to live. It turns out that he’s our member’s landlord. It’s really sad though, because Bro. ***’s house just burned down about a couple of months ago. He lives in a new house now. Most of things were ruined in the fire though. I still remember when I came to visit Bro. *** at his house when I served here at the beginning of my mission. I don’t think anyone in his family got hurt though. I don’t know how his house caught on fire. Something that stuck out to me was the fact that out of all the things in this world, the most important things are our family members. Though it was sad that his things were ruined, at least he had his family members. I remember his showing us pictures of his. I think most of his pictures were destroyed, which is sad because those are memories.
Elder Sabin is ending his mission this week so I’ll be training a new missionary! Woohoo. This will be my first “son” I’ll have during my mission. I get to train him in my “birthplace”
Recently, I’ve still been focusing on always focusing on missionary work and not sharing stories. I have been very good at this. Actually I think my focus on that was lacking so I need to try a lot harder to do this. I know sharing stories isn’t a terrible thing. I don’t know why I always think of stories, but I think that the stories I share aren’t always related to things that we need to be doing. I also recently looked at a attribute assessment that I took. I chose some things to work on.
So for my last transfer, these are the things I’ll try to do.
-Focus my thoughts on my calling as a missionary.
-Focus my efforts on the most important things.
-Love and cherish the Savior and his gospel as well as ponder Christ’s teachings and what he has done for me.
-Desire the eternal welfare and happiness of others and try to understand their feelings and see their point of view.
I know that’s a lot of things, but I know if I regularly review those things and pray for the Lord’s help, I can do it,
Thanks for reading!