Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope that this day of reflection and rest has been especially powerful for you as you've pondered over the significance of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice. I'm always in awe when I really take the time to consider that the Savior has overcome everything- every sorrow, pain, or mistake that we have ever made. Everything that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. :) 

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We've been really blessed this week in our area. We spent a lot of time out of it because of exchanges, the temple trip, being ill, and other events that otherwise took us away from it, yet the Lord has blessed us with some new investigators, powerful lessons, and even uplifting, positive experiences that have helped me appreciate and realize the grand reality of the living Christ.

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One of the things that has really helped me this week is being able to watch the Bible videos. The office just recently got new DVDs that contain 50 of the bible videos (I'm not sure if that's all of them), and they've really added a new dimension for me in how I view the Savior. I've been trying to make the flat nicer by putting up more pictures, and has some great pictures of Christ from the bible videos. They just make them so... real. :) I encourage you, if you haven't, to watch some of these videos to make your Easter day, the day of His glorious resurrection, more real and special to you.

I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He came to show us the way, suffer, and die for us, but His ultimate purpose was to overcome all death and suffering that we may, too, partake of Salvation and live again with Him and our Father. As we keep this in mind, I pray that we will be sensitive to the whispering of the spirit of His reality. Prayerfully prepare for Conference, where we'll get to hear His ordained servants, and you will see miracles and know that He is. :) I love you very much, and although I miss you, I know that Christ will help us overcome any and every separation if we allow Him to. Have a great week, and remember the Savior! :) 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wolly the Adopted Vietnamese Wombat

Hello, everyone! I love you! This week was a fantastic week, full of crazy things and wonderful surprises, as well as miracles that have helped shape me into a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

To start off with, last week, I was given a stuffed wombat from a less active. She was just showing us around her house, showing off her collections of various things, and out of the blue, she gave me this wombat! Isn't he cute? I also made him a little Vietnamese hat so that he can feel right at home in the Vietnamese program. I think he is a great mascot for the area.

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This week, I got to go on exchanges with Elder Marshall, my original MTC companion. I haven't been able to see him around much for about 4 or 5 months because of the different areas, so it was interesting to work with him again. We've really changed so much, and it was fascinating to see how the differences that our missions are making for us. We worked with more unity than even in the MTC although we've been separated for so long. He's a good missionary, and I'm glad to be able to serve with him and serve in the district/ward with him.,

This week, we've really made a bigger push to work with members and recent converts as per direction of our Area Presidency and Mission president. We've been working with a recent convert to help him invite people whom he knows to hear about the gospel, and to prayerfully prepare to share it with them/invite them. As a result, I've felt closer to him and even his friends whom I haven't met before. I have a stronger testimony about the power of praying for people by name, specifically asking Heavenly Father to bless them according to the needs that I'm aware of. If nothing else, it really develops my charity for others and my desire to serve them and help them. It's been exciting to develop and feel that this week.

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I've been blessed this week to really see and feel my progress as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Although I am far from perfect, I'm seeing that as I make little changes in my day-to-day routines to be more deliberate and more aware of God, I am in turn more aware of myself and what I need to do and be to reach my full potential. I'm grateful for the chance to share this message with everyone that I can, especially the Vietnamese people for whom I'm developing a greater and greater love.

I hope you've all had the chance to see the new Easter videos from the church! They're fantastic. I quite enjoy them, anyway, and I know that they are inspired by the brethren to help move His great work forward. May you find peace and light this week as you seek it from the Lord. I love you all, and I'm praying for you! Thank you for all that you have done, do, and will do for me! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that He loves us very much, and that He conquered death and sin so that, through Him, we can too.

Have a great week! :)

Monday, March 14, 2016

An Adventure in Exchanges

Hello, everyone! I love you! This week was an excellent adventure, but I didn't spend a lot of it with my companion... we had a couple of exchanges this week, so I got to work with Elder Vo (the elder from Vietnam) and Elder Banner.

The exchanges were superb! The other elders really helped me focus on some important aspects of my character on the mission, and they helped me re-realize the fun and the joy that comes from serving the Lord in such a capacity. I'm incredibly blessed to be working with these elders in my district. They're both very humble and very powerful examples of testimony and truth. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures, but I'll be better about that with this week's exchanges! 

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I got to borrow a Lava Lava this week during the exchange on Friday. Other cultures are exciting. :) 

This week, we also had stake conference and zone meeting. There is a huge emphasis on working with the members more, and plans are being put into place on the mission and stake levels to be able to do that more. I'm excited for the future with the plans, but I'm concerned about the lack of Vietnamese members that we have to work with. A lot of them are recent converts, and we're still trying to strengthen their testimonies. The others are not very active, so we're going to be working with them more to help inspire them to come to church. :) 

Something I've been really grateful for this week has been the opportunity to learn from others around me. I've been able to learn from a new family we're teaching about the importance of being teachable and the value of, well, values, especially Christ-centered values. I've learned from other missionaries how to be diligent, fun, caring, and genuine. I've learned a lot from the scriptures about who I can be, and who I can only become if I learn to rely and trust on God. This week, my ponderize scripture was Mosiah 8:18, which talks about how prophets and seers can help out mankind through their faith, but I'm sure it reaches farther than that; God provides a way for all the faithful to be able to benefit mankind. I'm grateful for the faithful examples in all of you that are really benefiting me, and turning me towards more Christ-like service to others.

I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of God. He came to live, die, and atone for us that we may live with Them again. Everyone has access to His great and infinite Atonement, and one of the greatest reminders of that is how we can remember and learn of Him through other people.

I love you all so much, and I hope you have a great week! :) 

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Easter time is fun, and missionaries love letters! :) Seriously, letters lift up my spirits a ridiculous amount. I'm not begging or anything, though... :) 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

New Investigators!

Hello again, everyone! I love you all so much! This week has been really full of things. Fortunately, it's also been full of a couple of teaching appointments. :)

This week, we started teaching 2 new Vietnamese investigators, our first in the area. It's interesting how we ran into them, actually. One is a Vietnamese girl who originally planned to go to Germany, so she and Elder Mahendran can talk bilingually. She speaks about as much German as I do, so we can all understand each other pretty well. She helps us with our Vietnamese, we help her with her English and teach her the gospel. It's a good deal!

The other investigator was an absolute miracle. Someone we contacted the other day gave us the wrong number, but we didn't know that. When we called the number, it was a Vietnamese person who confused us with another church group whom he had met, and he agreed to meet. The lesson was funny, awkward, and a little frustrating at times. We weren't sure we would meet him again. However, by the end, he really felt the spirit as we bore testimony and asked him questions that made him really think about his perspective of God and life. We're going to meet him again sometime this week! :)

Other than that, it's been really good to be in the new flat. It already feels like home, and the other elders are quite diligent and obedient, which helps to keep us motivated and working hard. We're going back to Footscray ward now, but it's a 40 minute drive and 1.5 hours by train, so Sundays involve a lot of travel, and we're hoping to help our investigators be converted to the gospel enough to make the long trek each week. I have faith that Heavenly Father will bless us and bless them as we do. 
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This week, I did a lot better about reading General Conference talks, and as I did, I gained greater spiritual focus and strength. I've been trying to focus lately on getting to know Jesus Christ, focusing on His life and the things that He has done for me and for all of us. I know that an essential, inseparable part of that is coming to know His true appointed servants, the prophets. Conference is coming up again, so I invite you all to redouble your efforts to keep reading October's General Conference talks until then! Also, don't forget to ponderize if that's gotten a little low. :) I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and strength! I know that our Savior lives, Jesus is the Christ, and that through Him, we can all be made perfect. :) Until next week! :) 

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Ps. I got a free hat this last week from someone random. I tried to start a conversation by complimenting their hat, and they asked, "Do you want it? I have 2." It really boosted my spirit even though it may be a little silly. :)