Monday, February 17, 2014

Great week!

Hi Everyone,
I have been doing really well this week!  It's funny that I say that, because I still have all my daily insecurities and things that I don't understand, but when I email home I just can't seem to remember all the little injustices and disheartening things that during the week I wish I could tell you all.  Lets see, this week was pretty slow, as usual, but I think most things were overshadowed by the overarching excitement for Stan's baptism.  Thank you for all your prayers on his behalf.  I'm sure many missionaries feel this way about their new converts, but I really believe that his conversion, as well as his wife's, is a lifelong conversion.  The only thing I fear for him now is that we, the missionaries and the members of the branch, are so excited for him that we will overload him, and put heavy demands on his already full work schedule.  I believe he is completely willing to do everything in his power to "give back to the church and to Heavenly Father," and I know that he will be a great strength to the small branch here in Johor Bahru.

The baptismal meeting was practically perfect!  More people came than we expected, a lot more pictures were taken than I expected, the talks were short and sweet, our song, "If the Savior Stood Beside Me," was beautiful, there were no problems with the rather old baptismal font, and Elder Loke performed the ordinance flawlessly.  Yesterday, I felt very honored to confirm him a member of the Church, and although I was a little nervous about giving him that priesthood blessing, everything flowed very smoothly.

Stan's mother came all the way from Kuala Lumpur to support him in his baptism.  She was touched by the Spirit, and afterwards she asked us if she could transfer her records from her Lutheran congregation to our church!  It is a testimony to me of the converting power displayed by Stan's righteous and consistent example in living the Gospel, and of the power of the Holy Ghost to bear witness of truth.

I pray every day for help to recognize and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  Recently, "Let the Holy Spirit Guide" has become my favorite hymn.  I realize that there are so many things that I cannot do on my own, and many circumstances that I have no control over, but I pray that by being in tune with the Spirit I will know how to do what Jesus would do in every situation.  I hope that every one of us can do the same, because I know the Lord wants to guide us, and He will if we listen and follow with real intent.

I love you all, and thank you for your letters and prayers!


Oh, a really cool part of this week that I forgot to mention in my letter: I got to see a lion dance, right in the lobby of our complex!  Two lions came out and danced to a ridiculous beat, and dared people to come take lucky mandarin oranges from their mouths!

Here they are fighting over a head of lettuce, and giving gifts to bystanders of all ages.  Tons of fun to see!

A bird's eye view (almost) of my area, from one of the other missionary apartments across town.  Can you see all the cranes in the hazy distance?

The crazy distance is what really gets me.  Johor Bahru, in Chinese is called Xin Shan, "New Mountain," but there aren't any mountains!  The sky stretches out forever, and the clouds here are amazing!

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