Sunday, August 28, 2016

Back in Thatch


Hello again, everyone! I pray that this finds you well, happy, and abounding in the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! :) 

This was the first week back with Elder Marshall since we've been in the MTC together about 11 or so months ago. It's amazing to see just how much we've both changed but also how similar we still are to who we were. Definitely, we're more skillful, motivated, and diligent missionaries, and it's wonderful to be able to work with him out in the field. We've been getting along well, and since he's been in the area before (about 8 months ago), a lot of members still remember him, and we've even started working with a former investigator who recognized him on the street! 

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The biggest miracle this week would have to be with one of our investigators. Last week, she told us that she needed a break from the lessons because she just wasn't sure if things were moving too fast or if this was the right path for her to take, etc. We respected her decision, but I was still sad that she was very close to coming unto the Lord through baptism, so she was definitely in our prayers. We also invited a couple of members who know her a little bit to combine in prayer for her and for her to be able to recognize the peace and love that comes from the gospel. Miraculously, within 2 days of inviting other members to put in their faith, she called us back and told us that she would love to continue learning and even join the church! She enthusiastically came to the baptism we had on Saturday (for an 8 year old member) and loved it. She also attended the stake conference session. Because of this and many other experiences, I know that the Lord not only answers our sincere prayers of faith, but He often gives us answers that are more wonderful than we could have previously thought of! His ways are truly higher than our ways, and He loves us very much.

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In other news, last P-day Elder Roberts and I constructed a temple wall; a wall consisting of all the temples on LDS.org! That's over 150 operating temples, plus a few announced/planned temples. We're blessed to be able to have so many places in which to worship the Lord! :)

We also had another investigator who is primary age attend the baptism on Saturday. It's very fun trying to teach her because I never quite know where the lesson is going to go. I feel like being able to work with her is helping me a lot to develop more creative teaching skills and also to make things more simple and fun. I'm grateful for that. I've definitely seen how I've improved as a teacher over the course of my mission, but I'm still eager to hone my skills and improve all the more. I hope to be a capable instrument in the hands of the Lord.

Have a fantastic week, and remember to look for God's grace in your life! I promise that you will find it. It's always there. He is always there. :) I love you!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Priesthood Power


Hello, everyone! This week was a fantastic week, full of priesthood and big news! I hope you're all doing well and seeing the Hand of the Lord in your life. :)

This week, we were privileged to take part in a baptism for Kim, a wonderful new member of the church! The baptismal service on Saturday went really well, and the spirit of the Lord was abundant. Because of close coordination with our great ward mission leader, everything was arranged before hand, the speakers were all there, and we had a pretty good turn-out from the ward to support him. The only problem was the baptismal font was a little cold, but Kim was just happy to be able to be baptized. His friend, Barclay, who is preparing to serve a mission, had the blessing of being able to perform the ordinance for him. Yesterday, we got to participate in his confirmation and priesthood ordination. There are a lot of new things for him to learn, but the ward and us missionaries are ready and willing to help him through this transition and continual progression. It was a really testament to me about the true joy that comes from the gospel just before his baptism when he was simply beaming with excitement.

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Sunday was a great opportunity for us to participate in many priesthood ordinances. Along with the confirmation and ordination, Elder Roberts and I also got to participate in several priesthood blessings and administrations to the sick. It was astonishing, because earlier this week and even that morning, I was praying to Heavenly Father for opportunities to exercise and strengthen my capacity to use the priesthood. He certainly answered my prayer many-fold! I'm so grateful for the restored priesthood authority, through which we can experience the power of godliness through ordinances. I know that the priesthood of God is truly on the Earth, and it's in His restored church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

We're continuing to work with our current investigators to help them progress more, but we anticipate it may take a little bit longer for them to feel ready and to be truly converted. We're excited to work with them! We recently started teaching another referral from the ward, this time a little sister of a recent convert of about a year. She's excellent! However, I don't have too much experience teaching children, so it'll be a big growing experience for me. We're excited to meet with more people the Lord is preparing for us!

It's been a really good week, and I'm very grateful to have been serving with Elder Roberts. He's a great missionary. I'm very excited for him to be training a new missionary in a new area (my old area, too!); I know that he's more than capable, and the Lord will magnify his efforts! It'll be interesting to be with Elder Marshall again. We were companions in the MTC, but this is the first time that we'll be companions out in the field. Given that we've both spent a bit of time in this area, I anticipate it'll be a smooth transition to just get to work, and work hard. The coming weeks have a lot of change, but I'm excited for it!

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I hope that you can feel the power of Godliness in the ordinances of the priesthood. I love to hear about your spiritual progression and experiences! Have a great week!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hello Again

Hello, again! I love you! :) My camera is half good, half meh. It's starting to behave itself more lately. :) I hope you're having a fantastic Sabbath! :) 
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At the beginning of the week, we said good-bye to Elder Rands. He was Elder Roberts's trainer, and we lived in the same flat during the beginning of my mission, so we were rather close to him. It was really nice to be able to spend some time on exchange with him and Elder Howell, both great missionaries that have taught us so much and continue to set good examples for us in the mission. It was sad to say goodbye to such a great missionary, but I know that he's going to continue to do amazing things, and I'm excited to hear more about his post-mission adventures.

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Elder Rands is in the middle! :)

Mid-week, we met with Kim, a referral from a member. He is a downright miracle. Apparently, he's been taught by missionaries before, and he has a girlfriend serving a mission at the moment. He's been investigating the church for a while, and he contacted us because he is interested in getting baptized and becoming a member of the church! He's been to church the past 5 weeks, and because he's already received a lot of the lessons and we've reviewed everything with him, he is scheduled to be baptized this coming Saturday! It's certainly a miracle, since the first time we actually had a formal lesson with him was this past Wednesday, but he's progressing quite well! We're excited to help him make the sacred covenant and to become an active member of Springvale ward.

We also were blessed with the opportunity to teach a new investigator who is Vietnamese! It was incredible because Elder Roberts met him at the station a week ago. Shortly thereafter, I ran into him at the station as well, and he agreed to meet. We had a great lesson with him wherein we testified about the Restoration of the gospel, and he asked really good questions about ways he can better develop his relationship with God. It was refreshing to be able to give a lesson in Vietnamese, and I've seen how the Lord has blessed me and Elder Roberts to be able to continue to improve in the language although we haven't been teaching a lot of Vietnamese people. Truly, the Lord watches out for us!

The weekend was wonderful because of Zone Conference (thank you again) and the mini-mission in Maroonda(?). The mini-mission is when they get to stay with us full time missionaries for Friday night, all day Saturday, and most of Sunday until just about the afternoon. We were able to each have a mini-missionary with us on Saturday and Sunday, and it was a good privilege to get a lot of good work done in the area and introduce the youth there to missionary life. Brother Page (my mini-companion) was excellent and really eager to dive right in and to improve. They're both going to make great missionaries in the future! The lessons we had during the mini-mission were really good, and I think that the youth were able to have a really good experience. 

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Brother Page is the far right, Brother Chen the far left. :) 

The Lord is truly blessing us, and I'm very grateful for your prayers and your faith. I know that Jesus Christ directs this work, His work, and that the Lord will help us as we reach out to Him. I pray that you have a fantastic week and can see the miracles! I promise you that they are there. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Miracles Left & Right


Hello, everyone! I hope your week has been full of good experiences and testimony building studies. :) I love you!

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We had a plethora of amazing miracles this week. The members in our ward are really eager and willing to hasten the work of salvation! It started out on Monday, when we had dinner with a nice active member family. We were feeling a bit exhausted because although it was P-day, we were still out and about doing things. Before going in, we said a prayer that we could help the family come closer to Christ. We were surprised to meet a man out front whom we have never met before. He told us to just go in, and we met the family we had planned to have dinner with- plus a couple of guests. The mother of the family had invited several members of her family, less active, non-member, and member to participate in our dinner and discussion, and we were pleasantly surprised to find a new investigator that very night! We were able to schedule with one of the non-members who has been really eager to come to church over the past little while. He has some complications with his back, but once we get to meet with him more and help him understand more of the wonderful blessings of the gospel, he will be very strong. We also had a good zone meeting where a member of another ward gave us some good, practical advice on working with members.

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(My camera is being a bit rubbish lately... it's doing the weird pixelation thing.)

Another miracle involves the investigator who loved church last week. You may recall that finding her was a miracle in itself (she was a self referral to read the Book of Mormon), but greater things were to come. She adored church and really wanted to meet with us again. As per norm, she had some questions for us. She asked a little bit about pets in heaven, and a complicated question about the Fall, but we were able to give her good answers and she was very accepting. Finally, she asked a question that absolutely floored us. She prefaced it with, "So, I really loved going to church, and I like what I've been learning with you guys..." and then blew us away with, "what do I have to do to join your church?" We talked and testified about baptism and confirmation for the remission of sins, the logistical side of going about that, and talked about how that was our purpose, to help others make those sacred covenants. However, before we could fulfill our purpose to invite her to be baptized, she asked "Can I do that? Can I be baptized and join your church?" Elder Roberts did a good job at asking her questions to make sure that her intentions were not just social, and she has a baptismal date for this month! She had another great time at church this week, and she's excited to be able to learn more and she does a fair bit of research on her own (on LDS.org). She's already listened to a couple of talks by President Monson and is trying to read the Book of Mormon. Truly, Heavenly Father is sending us amazing miracles.

Truly, the Lord does give us miracles today according to our faith and diligence. Sometimes, they're easy to recognize, like with the ones I've shared today, but often, they are really quiet, powerful manifestations of the Spirit that lets us know that God loves us. I know that He is sending us angels to bear us up every day, and as we pray to recognize them, He will reveal to us the wonderful plethora of blessings that we are not yet aware of. I know the church is true, and I share my witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I pray that you all have a wonderful week and can see the miracles of God in your own lives. I know that He wants to bless us, He wants us to be happy and successful, and He wants to let us know that He is there. :) Have a great week! :)