Monday, August 25, 2014

It's a Boy!

August 18, 2014
Dear Family,
It's a boy!!  I'm now a proud trainer!  My new companion's name is Elder South.  He just arrived in the mission after 9 weeks in the MTC.  His enthusiasm takes me back to great times in Provo with Elder Fletcher and all the MTC gang who are now in Taiwan and California.  Elder South is from Menan, Idaho.  He's the youngest of 9 kids, so he's been looking forward to a mission for a long time, and has learned a lot from his siblings' mission experiences already.  He's worked in Canada, most of the States, and China with his dad's construction company, so he's not living away from home for the first time.  His whole family is musical, and so he knows a lot of the same music that I listened to before the mission, and we love the same musicals.  Cool!
Elder South's energy is contagious, and it will be a big help to us here in Sibu! feel totally unqualified to be his trainer, but I'll do the best I can to fulfill this calling from the Lord.  I think we'll have a lot of fun, and get lots of work done!
Us at Wendy's - Elder South is right behind me.

Elder Zeng thinks my glasses are funny when we come out of 
Wendy's air-conditioned environment onto the rainy streets.
It was sad saying goodbye to Elder Durrant after only one transfer together, but I know that he's going to do great and have fun in Ipoh!  We traveled to Singapore together, and there we met lots of old mission friends.  We all had a great time, exploring and contacting in Chinatown then eating a classic favorite spicy Chinese dinner.  It was so good to see Elder Wang, Elder Fletcher and Elder McCarthy, Elder Wadsworth and Elder Zeng again, among many other friends in Singapore!

So far, this week has been taken up with planning and making a vision for our area.  We'll be continually working with members and less actives.  Our branch has over 150 members, but only about 25 attend church, so we'll be trying to help reactivate those who have fallen away, and look for opportunities to share the gospel and the love of Jesus Christ with them, with their friends, and with their family members.  Elder South commented this morning about how much of missionary work is actually planning and calling and desk work.  I'm sorry that his first impression of being in the field is being in chair behind a desk all day, but we both feel that it is important to have a solid vision, backed up by goals and plans, before we hit the streets.  This way, we'll always be able to answer the question "What is our purpose in doing [specific activity] today?"  In essence, the way we've planned is such that we cover the "Why," the "What" and the "How"  questions of our missionary work, and give us a direction to take as we work.

Recently, with Wendy, we've been reading the Book of Mormon at every visit.  I'm afraid that she won't be quite ready in time for her baptismal date in a few weeks.  However, I want to remember that we're not teaching just to check off boxes in our area book, but to help her gain a witness from the Spirit that the Book of Mormon is true and that the Heavenly Father will bless her life immeasurably as she lives the first principles of the Gospel.  We want to help her set a spiritual foundation that will last a lifetime of activity and progression in the Church, so we're taking it slowly, not going faster than she can understand.  She can't read Chinese very well, so we read a verse with her, and then she explains what it means.  We draw connections to her life, and let her ask her questions about Lehi, Nephi, and what it means for her.  Her testimony is beginning to grow, and we hope that we can help her nurture it by reading the Book of Mormon with her constantly and encouraging her to seek a spiritual witness of it's truthfulness.

Thanks for all your prayers on behalf of our branch members and for us to find new investigators!  I love you all so much!!


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