The district I'm serving in now is the Sibu Bandar district. (Bandar means "city" in Malay.) There are 3 districts in our Zone: Sibu Bandar, Mukah, and Sibu Jaya. Sibu Jaya is about an hour car ride away, and Mukah is north of us, about 3 hours by car through the jungle. It's tons of fun being in this district, because all the missionaries are working together, have great district unity, and are all trying to be obedient. It just feels great! Plus, Elder Hobbs is still here (it's been nearly 11 months in Sibu for him!)
Elder South is great! I learn so much from him every day. One thing I've learned is that we don't always share the same opinion on things, and so we've spent some time working through our differences. As we do this, we draw closer together and closer to the Lord. We both have such a strong desire to serve the Lord, seek His will, and do what's right, so things are working out for our companionship.
About our investigators:
Ethan couldn't meet with us at all this past week, and it's been very hard to contact him over SMS. I think that he's still reading the Book of Mormon, but we don't know for sure. If he's still going strong at the same pace, He's probably finished Alma by now! He didn't come to church this week. As a matter of fact, he went back to his own church, and invited us to come with him. We never were able to confirm that he knew we weren't coming with him. He told us that his dad really hates us and won't let us come back to their house. The members that live near him are all unable to come with us to his lessons, which we'll probably have in the park near his house from now on. His baptism date is going to be postponed, until he can come to church consistently. I'm afraid of yet another eternal investigator, but I still feel that something's different about him. He says that he feels the Holy Ghost speaking to him every time he reads the Book of Mormon, and he really does understand it very well! (But because he seems to understand it well, I'm wondering what he may have against being baptized and attending church with us. Could it be because his entire family opposes it? Will he lose friends by leaving his former church? Does he simply not want to ride 30 minutes to church or be a burden to our branch members who'd pick him up?) We'll be talking to him this week and trying to understand more about what he thinks and feels. Wish us luck! Actually, no. Pray for us!
The other investigators that we found have all pretty much dropped off. They didn't want to commit to come to church, and they just wanted us to visit their homes because we looked like angels, or because they though that maybe we'd give them a cross and a Chinese Bible for free. We'll be searching hard for new people this week. We are going to be teaching people toward making and keeping sacred covenants. We'll be testifying often of the blessings that come from living righteously and from hearing our message.
Elder South said that he felt this week was pretty rough. I know that we didn't have a lot of success in finding or in teaching. In fact, several of our appointments fell through and were not able to reschedule. I think the week was hard because we were stretching ourselves to talk to everyone and improve our contacting abilities. After a few days of no real finding, Elder South said that he was low on faith, and that he felt Satan working against us. I know it wasn't an easy week, but I'm really proud of Elder South for his perseverance and determination to do the right thing even when he can't foresee any positive consequences of his choices. I still think that Elder South is training me more than I am training him, and I'm very grateful for the lessons that I've learned from working with him. I know he's going to be an excellent trainer in the future!
For now, we will keep pressing on! We have a great desire to find the elect of God, and to work in harmony with the branch here in Sibu. It definitely takes faith, because if we look at the recent pattern, we can predict a flatline or decrease in our key indicators, our church attendance, and our effectiveness in finding. However, I truly believe that the Lord is about to bring forth something great that will help and strengthen the Chinese branch here. I don't know what to expect, but I have faith that the Lord will help us as we remember him and continue to work diligently!
I love you all, and I thank you for your constant thoughts and prayers!!