Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Spirit Strengthens & Sustains

Hello, everyone! I hope you've all had a fabulous week! :) I pray that the Lord is blessing you with magnificent experiences that allow you to progress and grow.

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This week went fairly well; unfortunately, I started to feel a little physically ill by the end of the week, so I didn't feel like I could do as much as I wanted to do. Fortunately, through prayers and diligence, the Spirit was able to carry me through and help me to have great spiritual experiences with many people.

The Sabbath was especially great. We had 2 investigators at church, one of whom is the one I mentioned a few weeks about who referred herself to read the Book of Mormon. Seeing as I wasn't feeling well, I was a bit nervous as to how much I could do to make her church experience positive and good. I shouldn't have worried so much; I know that the Lord's hand is in all things, especially with His beloved children. We had a powerful sacrament meeting, and as I felt the Spirit, I had a confirming witness that she was also having a good experience and hearing the truth, although she may not have understood all of our vocabulary. :) Then, when Elder Roberts and I taught Gospel Principles, we were able to share and testify of the glorious truths we know about in the Plan of Salvation. The investigators participated well, and the members there helped to make it relevant and powerful to her. When we handed her off to someone in Relief Society, we were confident that she would have a great experience there as well. Meeting up with her after church brought a lot of joy to my soul; she was beaming with happiness and had certainly felt the guiding influence and grand renewal that comes from the Spirit. I'm very grateful to have been able to take part in that, and I know the Sabbath also helped sustain and reinvigorate me. I look forward to the Sabbath every week, and I'm grateful for the great gift that it is that the Lord has given us.

In other news, I was able to go on exchanges with the zone leaders and have a pretty good teaching experience on someone's doorstep (if there's no other male, we're not allowed to go inside). It was different, but great as we share the Plan of Salvation with a young woman who wants to know her Heavenly Father. :) I'm grateful for the experiences that I've had this week despite not feeling 100% physically; Heavenly Father has certainly more than made up for it in spiritual gifts!

I know that Jesus is the Christ, that He came, He died, He lived, and He conquered all separation and sorrow. He gives us peace as we come to Him. :)

I hope you have a wonderful week! I love you! :) 

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Leadership in the Church

Hello, everyone! I hope you've had a wonderful week, full of miracles and joy! It's been another great week to help point people to Christ and invite them to partake of His gracious and bountiful blessings. :)

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This week, I've had a lot of opportunities to ponder on the importance of leadership in the church. During my study of Jesus Christ and His life, I've seen how He is the great example of a leader; I've also read from General Conference from Elder Rasband about the importance of sustaining and following leaders in the church; and finally, I've been able to participate in a ward council where the stake presidency came and gave instruction to the ward. I've been humbled and grateful for the great leaders that I've had in my life and that I'm continuing to have throughout my mission. The stake president gave a powerful talk, and the spirit he brought to the meeting truly showed his great humility and spirituality. I'm also grateful for my bishop, who is helping us with some non-members in the ward and to work to help other families come and partake of the blessings of the gospel.

Ward conference this week made sacrament meeting really great, but the best thing about church this week was that an investigator of ours came! Sister Thong has a daughter serving a mission, but she is not a member herself. Because of her limited English, it's been a bit difficult for her to commit to come to church. On Saturday, we had a great lesson in the scriptures and she agreed to be baptized, but she wasn't sure about coming to church. Fortunately, she decided to come and we had some great fellowship/friendship from someone who could help her come. Above that, the relief society in our ward (especially the leaders)
were absolutely fantastic in helping her understand, feel included, and have a good experience. 

I'm so very grateful for the great leaders that I get to associate with, listen to, and learn from. I'm grateful for my mission president, President Vidmar, who's already helping to shape the mission to achieve the Lord's work. I'm grateful for the First presidency of the church, under the direction of President Thomas S. Monson, who himself is under the direction of the Great Leader, even Jesus Christ. I hope that you have seen how great leaders have blessed your life and have taken the time to be grateful to them and to God for their invaluable help and support. I know that Jesus is the Christ, that He lead His church today through the great leaders we have, generally and locally.

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

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Referrals Are Fantastic!

Hello, everyone! This week was a pretty busy week full of transfers, meetings, interviews, and a few good teaching appointments. I hope that your week has likewise been pretty great. :)
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Colorful flashcards made out of sticky-notes! :) 

This week we got to have zone interviews with President Vidmar. It was wonderful to have some personal time with both President and Sister Vidmar and to find out more about their lives. It turns out, they live really close to Disneyland and go there frequently! It was pretty fun to be able to connect with them on that, and they're both wonderfully dedicated to the gospel. Interviews always go too fast, but it was nice to have the time that I did with them. :) 

Throughout the rest of the week, we actually had a miracle of a lesson with a referral! We received a referral for someone who had requested a copy of the Book of Mormon, and when we called to schedule an appointment with her, she told us that she was interested in having missionaries come to visit because she had a few questions for us. We were a little wary, because sometimes when people want to ask missionaries questions, it's not always with the purest intent. We prepared with some of the frequent FAQs, and we wen to the appointment, ready to talk about the Word of Wisdom, temples, and teach the Restoration, etc. When we got there, her first question was as we expected; she wanted to know why we could drink coffee. We explained about prophets and revelation, and she was very accepting. We thought we were pretty ready for her next round of questions, and we were pleasantly surprised! Her next questions was "Am I allowed to just come to your church, or do I have to be a member first? May I come to your church?" We hadn't really prepared for a question like that. Her subsequent questions were all genuine inquiries about how she could learn more of the gospel and participate in the worship services we had. It was a really pleasant lesson, and she will be coming next week if she's still in good health. I'm grateful for Heavenly Father and His work to prepare people to hear the message of the restored Gospel every single day.

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The rest of the week comprised mostly of meetings and an exchange with the zone leaders. It was very fun to be able to learn from them and to find ways that I can improve. :)

I'd like to leave with my testimony of Jesus Christ; He truly is the Savior of the world, and He is also our Savior to each of us individually. By means we can only try to comprehend, He came to earth to live a perfect life, pay the price for our Sins, and emerge victorious from the grave. He is the head of this church, His church, and He guides us and prepares people in our path to help us return to Him. Of Him I bear witness, even in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

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

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Given the chance to know Christ

Hello, everyone! Another week means more miracles, experiences, and great opportunities to come and know Jesus Christ! Tansfers just came, and I'm staying in my same area with my same companion, and I'm really excited to get more things rolling around here. The Lord is with us, and we can do all things through Him. :)

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1 Year as a missionary means celebratory Pho! :) It was very good.

This week, we met with some great investigators who were introduced to us by members of the ward. They are excellent and excited to learn more! Although they had a lot of questions about some of the things we explained, they did express how they like the message that God is our Father and continually reaches out to His children to bless them and guide them. Elder Roberts and I are very excited to keep working with them and doing things to help them develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I've focused a lot this week on striving to have the Spirit to be with me more, especially during finding. When talking with new people and new contacts, I want to have a greater emphasis on helping them feel the spirit as they make a choice and use their agency to meet with us and learn more. As I've sought this through prayer, I've been able to have several great conversations with people. Unfortunately, one such conversation did not lead to a man accepting to read the Book of Mormon to come closer to Jesus Christ, and I felt pretty bad that he refused our invitations. I know that it is through reading the scriptures and hearing the words of His servants, the prophets, that we can come to know Him. As we do His will and strive to live the way He has taught us to, we become more like Him and our joy becomes more full.

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Exchanges with Elder Finau!

I'm grateful for the scriptures and the latter-day revelation that helps us to know Jesus Christ and His true character more. I'm so grateful for the chance to share those things with the people here and to strive to help them come unto Christ by doing the things that we know can help them in their lives.

I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, truly is His church on the earth today. I know that He reaches our reaching and sends us the Holy Ghost to guide us. I'm so grateful for the abundant gifts that our Heavenly Father gives us. :) What gifts have you seen in your lives lately? I know that the scriptures are true, and that Jesus is the way to eternal exaltation and happiness. I so testify in His name, even that of Jesus Christ, amen.

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

Sunday, July 3, 2016

New Haircuts, Mission President, Eternal Families, and Miracles!

This week was quite the busy week, and it was full of a lot of goodness and a lot of hard work! To start off the week, Elder Roberts managed to give me a really good haircut (for free, too! :) ) and we got to meet with a lot of good people! Also, Happy 4th of July in Australia! It's fun to celebrate an American holiday in a foreign country. :)

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Happy Birthday America!

We met with President and Sister Vidmar, our new mission parents, last Friday. They were able to introduce themselves and share a little about their testimonies and conversion stories. Sister Vidmar is a convert to the church, and due to president Vidmar's olympic participation, he has yet to serve a full time mission, but I know that they are called of God and up to the task of leading the mission. :) We were able to get pictures with them, and they said that they'd be sending it to our families, so more on that to come.

This week is coming up on my year mark for the mission. It's hard to believe that almost a year has passed since I entered the MTC and started to learn one of the craziest, funniest, and best languages in the world: Vietnamese. More than that though, it's been almost a year since I've dedicated myself to be a consecrated, dedicated servant of the Lord. Looking back over the past year, I see a lot of growth amidst the rough patches, and I also see a lot of shining miracles, giving me greater evidence and witness that this is God's work and that He has sent me here to help these people. In this new year, I want to be more charitable, dedicated, and willing to branch out and try new things. I've been able to see great things so far on my mission, things that will shape me for who I am and the rest of my life. I know that this is because I have been called of God to help His children have everlasting life. It's because my prayers have been more consistent and sincere. It's because my scripture study goes into being applied to bless the lives of others. That being said, I know that I can do a lot better in all those areas of my life, and I pray that I will do so. I'm ready for the next part of my best two years!

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We've been able to see a couple of miracles this week! Not only do we have 2 new investigators (and one of them is Vietnamese), but one of our new investigators is part of a part member family. That means that her daughter is a convert to the church of about one year, and she's agreed to start meeting with the missionaries. She doesn't speak English (nor Vietnamese) so we have a recently returned missionary come help us to teach/translate. The spirit of God is so palpable in any language as we testify of the truth the gospel will bring us the most joy, the most happiness, and the best chance that we have for eternal families. That is our goal, and, as Henry B. Eyring reminded us in his Priesthood session conference talk, that is what every major decision we make should aim to achieve. I'm excited to help build eternal families as much as the Lord will bless me to do so. The other miracle was a great testament to the power of priesthood blessings. A member requested that she get a blessing for her sprained ankle, which seemed to be really serious, and she had to stay off of her foot for the whole week in order to have it healed. However, after the blessing, she was able to walk without any pain, and the ankle was completely healed. Her faith in the priesthood of God is truly one of her gifts of the spirit. 

I'm excited to continue to work hard, see miracles, and become all that my Heavenly Father needs me to be! I testify that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and His open arms are outstretched to us all. He waits for us to say, "If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." As we follow His teachings and His gospel and come unto Him, He will always always reply, "I will: Be thou clean." (Matthew 7:1-4 I think.)

I love you! Have a great week! God be with you! :)