Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Week Rushes By...

Hello, everyone! I hope this finds you happy and well. :) I pray that you are all happy, safe, and drawing ever nearer to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our loving Heavenly Father. :) This week went by in a bit of a blur, and a lot of great things happened!

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This week, my companion and I had the opportunity to give a priesthood blessing to a non-member family in the hospital. The bishop from Footscray ward actually came down to perform the blessing, and since we were the closest elders, he asked us if we could come along! It was a powerful experience, and I have great faith that everything will turn out well. I know that the power of Godliness is manifest in the ordinances of His restored priesthood, and I'm blessed to be privileged to be able to participate in many of those sacred ordinances throughout my life. I'm grateful for the restored priesthood that helps us draw closer to God and understand His true nature.
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Speaking of which, we had some great opportunities to strengthen people's fundamental faith this week! We met with a new investigator from Vietnam (our first one in a while), and he was very curious as to how to follow Jesus Christ. After sharing the message of the Restoration, he agreed to pray and to meet with us more often so that he can know how to live the way that God and Jesus Christ want him to live. Additionally, we got to teach a nice sister how to pray this week. It was humbling and sobering for me when she asked us "When should I pray? Can I pray every day?" as though she were unsure that our God would make time to listen to here if she were to petition Him every single day. It was a sweet moment to bear testimony to her and explain to her that, yes, we not only can pray every day, but that our benevolent Father in Heaven wants to listen to us and hear us every single time that we do. In any time and in any setting, we can connect with Heaven with the utmost assurance that He is listening and very eager to bless us and help us. 

With priesthood blessings, exchanges, and great opportunities to petition for the Lord's help to feel healthy enough to do His work (I've had a bit of a cold this past week, but things are still going alright; I haven't been bed-ridden yet. :) ), this week was another great week and a testament to me of God's great love for each one of us as individuals, not just as the aggregate of His numerous children. I pray that you all may have those sweet moments alone with Heavenly Father. Something that has really impacted me in my studies lately of scriptures ancient and modern is how the prophets and apostles of the Lord really take the time to know Him, to commune with Him. I know that as we work to know Him, He will not only reveal Himself unto us in marvelous, unforeseen ways, but He will also change us to be able to experience the great power of godliness that He wants each of His children to feel. :)

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world; He was crucified for the sins of the world, yet He lives. He lives for you and me, and He will also come find us and save us. I strive to know Him and Heavenly Father even better. I have received my witness through the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead. I pray that we can each feel Their great love and great interest over our success and happiness. In the name of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, amen.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Zone Conference and bearing testimony!

Hello, again! I hope this week finds you all happy, healthy, and closer to the Lord than you were last week. :) This week has certainly been a powerful one for me. We had a lot of meetings this week, including the special missionary meeting that I talked about last week, district meeting, and zone conference. Zone conference is when all the missionaries in a stake get to come together with the Mission president and his wife for some trainings, instruction, and activities to help us become better missionaries. This Zone conference was the last one that I'll have with President and Sister Maxwell, and it was excellent. :)

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This week, I've been ponderizing (yes, that's still a thing that happens since the last conference) Colosians 3:23-24: whatsoever ye do, do it heartily. I felt that Zone conference amplified that message and filled me with a motivating spirit and testimony. It was wonderful to hear from President and Sister Maxwell their "last lectures" about things they are very passionate about. I learned a lot about the prophet Joseph Smith and the importance of learning more about Him and his journey to know the true character of Christ as well as hopes to be more positive and to see all the beauties and goodness of life. I've always admired Sister Maxwell for her love of the scriptures and the way that she's able to teach from them. I've always appreciated President Maxwell's humility and his willingness to teach and instruct in a loving way.

As part of the conference, we learned more about he Vidmars, our next "mission parents"! I'm excited to get to know them more in person, but from what we can tell, they're very powerful and very committed. It'll be wonderful to serve alongside them. Will you pray for the Maxwells and the Vidmars during this time of transition in their lives? It takes a lot to leave a mission, and it takes a lot to come and prepare to serve as a mission president. 

Apart from Zone conference, I've had many great opportunities to bear my testimony in finding situations, lessons, and even at church for a Teacher's quorum lesson. Each time that I shared what I know about the fundamental truths of the gospel, I've felt the spirit testify to me how beautifully simple and wonderful the gospel is. I still have a tendency to over-complicate things, and I'm grateful for the constant reminder and opportunity to simplify and share according to one's understanding- my own and the understanding of my investigators.

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It's been raining a lot over here! I finally can pull out the trench coat that my dad and my brother had on their missions. :) 

Working with members has been really good. We're starting to put some things into play to help them share the gospel more with their friends and other family members, but they're already doing a lot on their own and sharing with us their experiences. I'm grateful for the changing power of the gospel when we serve with all our hearts. I know that as we serve heartily, the Lord can really work to change and help our hearts grown in capacity, capability, and love. :) I'm grateful for Jesus Christ and all that He does and has done for me and my loved ones, and I pray that we can access His infinite grace and mercy. I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you! :)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Spanish Lessons, Special Meetings, and Super Sundays!

Hello, everyone! Apparently, Australia likes to celebrate the queen's birthday by closing down a lot of shops and libraries, hence I'm emailing a day later. :) I hope you all had a fantastic week! We sure did down here.

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Elder Roberts and I have been getting along well. We work well together in missionary work (finding, teaching, planning, etc.) and he's very agreeable and easy to live with. We laugh a lot, and he's a great example to me of having a good time on our missions while still being very dignified representatives of the Lord. For memory's sake, he's from Manti, Utah, and we were in the MTC together! Our Vietnamese has progressed pretty similarly, and he's very diligent. He really likes movies and sports, so  we have a lot of fun quoting things together all the time, especially good Disney Movies, and I can always rely on him in lessons and such.

This week, I got to go on splits with someone in our ward to meet an investigator from Peru. By some miraculous happenstance (Heavenly Father truly is a great at orchestrating), someone from Arizona who served his mission in California is now in Melbourne for a few months and wanted to help the Elders teach. He went Spanish speaking, and since our investigator is from Peru, she was able to hear the gospel in the language of her heart. She got emotional, and I think that she made some good progress. I tried my best to follow along, but given that my language focus is more on Vietnamese, I only got the gist of what was being said (and only that thanks to my companion's translating). It was  a nice experience to feel the spirit and see the prophecy be fulfilled that all will hear the gospel in their own language. :)

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Yesterday, we also got to go to a very special missionary meeting. Sister McKonkie and Sister Reeves were there with their husbands, and they all spoke a lot about motivation and being happy on the mission. It was a really special experience to hear from leaders from the church about how important the work is all around the world. I took a lot of good things from the meeting, the most prominent of which is probably that the best time that we have to enjoy is right now so long as we choose to do so. Heavenly Father sent us here that we may have joy in this life and in the life to come. He has given us so many great gifts, and I wish to be more sensitive and more receptive to his boundless charity and matchless love.

I'm so grateful for the Sabbath and the time that I have to recharge and learn from and about the Savior. I was able to bear my testimony this week in sacrament meeting as well as translate for an older Vietnamese sister. The talks, the spirit, and even the classes afterward truly made the Sabbath a delight for me. I'm grateful to be doing the Lord's work, and I pray that I may do it in His way to the benefit of all His children. I'm grateful for the general authorities and leaders of the church who truly are called of God and do lead His kingdom on the earth in righteousness.

The time in this life is a wonderful time to enjoy and to prepare to meet God. The joy that we can find here is but a taste of the joy we can have in the eternities, but it is still very much worth pursing and making an effort to be happy. May we all turn to our Savior and choose to be happy is my prayer in the name of the Master, even Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you! Have a fantastic week! :) 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Springvale - Week 1 - The return of Anh Cả Bình

Hello, everyone! It's only been a week here in Springvale, but I feel like I've been here for quite a while! I'm about 2 hours away from where I was before and an hour away from the main city itself, just for reference. :)

I've already had some good experiences in this area, and I'm very grateful to be working with such a great ward and such wonderful people! We started as soon as we could on Tuesday and started meeting with a lot of the members in Springvale ward. They're all phenomenal! After every teaching appointment, I turn to Elder Roberts and tell him, "Brother/Sister So-and-so is just a delight!" I'm very grateful to be working in this area with such supportive Latter-Day Saints. :)

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Unfortunately, we haven't been able to meet with a lot of our investigators, and I've found out that most of our investigators aren't even Vietnamese. I'm in a Viet/English area, once again! There used to be several elders in the ward, some were exclusively English and we were exclusively Viet, but apparently, last transfer that changed, so we're covering both bases. There aren't a lot of active Vietnamese members (yet), so we're going to get to a lot of work to find some new investigators!

I quite enjoyed my first Sunday in the ward, and although there aren't a lot of Vietnamese members coming to sacrament meeting, I had the opportunity to translate for an older sister anyway. It was wonderful to start of my introductions to the ward by hearing their great testimonies and to see how much they love the gospel. I've been struck over this past week just how important a personal knowledge and witness of the gospel is to each of us. I recently reviewed the conference talk from Elder Anderson, Faith is not by Chance, but by Choice, and I was impressed by his exhortation that we must continually develop our faith, or it will weaken. I'm looking forward to studying further different experiences that I've had to foster my faith and to share that with the people among whom I'm teaching and serving.

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It's been really good to be back with Elder Roberts. We already get along well, and we've established a pretty good work ethic. He's a fun, funny, and hard working elder. I'm excited to continue to work with him.

I know that the gospel is the most wonderful message that we can share and live. I know that it's not always obvious or apparent that it is so wonderful. I testify that through meaningful prayer and scripture study and through seeking to access the Atonement through the sacrament, Heavenly Father can reach out to us and bless us beyond anything we could have previously imagined. I know that They love each of us, and they're on our side and want our success. I'm so grateful for the testimony and faith that I have, and I want to ever be improving and progressing by increasing that faith.

I hope you all have a great week! I love you! :)