Monday, September 29, 2014


Dear Family,
To answer your questions about Wendy, she got permission to be baptized, but then her previous church's pastors and members told her a lot of bad things about the Church.  She's having a really hard time deciding what to do right now.  She's not coming to church anymore, and in fact, she's attending the other church again.  She's meeting with teachers from the other church and she says she can't read the Book of Mormon anymore.  She doesn't want to pray in our lessons anymore, and whenever we ask her a question about how she feels or what she's looking for or what the real reasons for her holding back are, she just says, "I don't know."    She says she feels in her heart that what we teach is true and that in her heart she wants to be baptized, but nothing she's doing is showing it.  Elder South and I have been pretty frank and clear in our recent lessons, while still showing our love for her and testifying of the Lord's love for her.  I pray for her every day, and I focus all of my study time on what to do to help her see clearly and feel the Holy Ghost, but we've come to the point where we can do almost nothing more.  We'll need to have a "Do or Drop" lesson with her this week. All the missionaries in Sibu know Wendy, and they've all been rooting for her, so this is disappointing for more than just Elder South and me.
That less-active member has been coming back to church, and has been welcomed by old friends.  She even brought two of her barbers to a church activity one night last week!  She says she really wants to find some other long-time less-active members, of whom she has a photograph, and bring them back to church, too!  However, she's always outstationed or too busy to meet with us.  We learned the importance of following up yesterday, from Elder Ballard's recent conference talk, so we'll keep trying to meet!

Elder South is such a wonderful companion! He is really focused on helping other people. Not only does he offer and render service to whomever we're around, but he is very perceptive as to the needs of our investigators and branch members. It makes it very easy to take action toward helping them fulfill their needs.

Elder South's Chinese is coming along.  He's getting pretty good at recognizing characters after seeing them a few times on his flashcards.  I still have to translate back and forth for him and for our investigators in lessons, but he's learning very quickly.  He's got a great language study plan, and I know he'll be dedicated to learning it.  He actually worked on a big construction project in China before the mission, so he's very motivated to learn the language well so that he can use it again when he goes back to China later.
Before the mission, Elder South traveled a lot, and worked with his family building monolithic (all in one piece of cement) domes.  You can look at his father's company's website at:  He's a lot of fun, and likes "smart people humor."  He quotes Oscar occasionally, much to my delight, and then I quote Pirates of Penzance or Homestar Runner back to him.  We enjoy it!

This Friday and Saturday, we went to Kuching (the "capitol" of Sarawak) for New Missionary Training with President and Sister Mains and the AP's.  They told us all about teaching for understanding, being bold in making our purpose known, and focusing on the commitment to be baptized.  President Mains gave a training, very similar to the one that he gave when I was the new missionary in his training meeting, about the covenant path that everyone must walk in order to make it back to Heavenly Father.  During the training, I caught myself thinking, "He makes it sound so simple!"  I resolved to change my teaching to be more plain, bold, and simple, by teaching the steps of the covenant path (baptism, confirmation, the sacrament, receiving either and ordination to the priesthood or blessings/ordinances through priesthood power, and temple covenants, then faithfully keeping these covenants until the end of our mortal trial.)  I believe that this will help people I work with to see not only the way to go, but why we need to walk that path and what blessings will surely come of it.  Heavenly Father has made his expectations clear, and he invites us to come unto him by following this path.  He'll give us the help that we need, but he won't force us into anything. 

It gives me comfort to know that as we taught Wendy, we made God's expectations clear and invited her and helped her, but now the choice is hers to make.  I hope and pray that she'll be sensitive to the Holy Ghost as she decides this week what to do.  I wish I could just take my knowledge and testimony and instill it in her until all her doubts were gone, however I know how important it is to exercise agency on our faith so that one will gain their own testimony.  We'll be very thankful for all of your prayers for Wendy and our struggling branch here.
So Much Love,
P.S.  It's really easy to reply to questions at the beginning of your emails, so keep them coming!  What else do you want to know?

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