Monday, January 12, 2015

Great! . . . and not so great.

Hi Everyone!

This week was great!  ...and sometimes not so great.

We met very few of our companionship and zone goals this week. We didn't accomplish all that we wanted to, but I feel that I have become a much more effective servant of the Lord because of the things I learned about using time wisely. I'm really grateful for the counsel I received and the discussion we had at MLC this week. Although we didn't hit our goals, and many appointments and plans fell through, Elder Mitchell and I are still in high spirits because we feel we have a direction to go, a new focus (effective time management, filling the funnel), and the tools to help us accomplish our vision. We expect great things from ourselves and our missionaries here in JB and Melaka.

I'm getting along very well with Elder Mitchell. I kind of feel that I'm in training again, because I learn so much from him each day. I especially admire how tuned-in to the Spirit he is. I want to be like that, as well. We are both always striving to become better and more righteous stewards over our small plot of the Lord's vineard. We will be encouraging our zone members to do the same in tomorrow's zone meeting, as well.  Oh, by the way, zone meeting is tomorrow.  Elder Mitchell and I have been planning this one since the beginning of the transfer, back in December, so I don't know how I forgot to tell you about it.  Our zone vision, based in Jacob 5, is that our zone members will unite in becoming righteous stewards over our plot of the Lord's vineard, through the use of effective goal-setting, planning, and accountability.  I'm really excited for it, and I'm not even as nervous as I thought I'd be, giving my first zone training.  Wish us luck!

... Okay, to expound on the previous paragraph, we will be training the missionaries on how to use the tools in their Area Books more effectively, how to use time wisely and fully, and why it's important to give an accounting unto the Lord.  Preach My Gospel Chapter 8 includes everything we'll be talking about, in case you wanted a taste of our training.  I know that Preach My Gospel came out after Mom and Dad's missions.  I've often wondered what missionary was like without Preach My Gospel.  Did you have area books?  Did you have a missionary manual?  Did you memorize discussions?  Was the doctrine that you taught the same or in the same order as it is today?

On an unrelated note, I just remembered a question I've been asking myself for a couple of weeks.  When, if ever, is it appropriate to work on Sundays?  I personally feel that any sacrifice you have to make, except for in life-threatening emergencies, to not work on the Sabbath is going to be worth it, and God will help you find a way to support your family and  come to church.  When is the ox in the mire, and when are people not living up to their covenenants?  This is a question I struggle to answer, because I know that so many people here are required to work on Sunday, especially because JB weekends are officially Friday-Saturday.  Work is really competitive, and it's hard to support a family as it is, but people are being pulled away from what I feel is most important.  Is giving up other things, even careers, in order to attend church, an invitation I should extend as a missionary?  (If so, I'm really going to need to think about how to do so lovingly.)

I bore my testimony in church yesterday, (an on-the-spot opportunity, in place of the assigned speaker who didn't attend), about how Heavenly Father knows the desires of our hearts, and He knows what we sacrifice.  I said that He will always make a way for us to keep His commandments, and whatever we sacrifice in order to do so would be worth it.  When Elder Mitchell got up after me, he made sure to say that we weren't asking the members to give up everything they had in order to live the gospel.  His testimony was a lot more kind and concerned for the people than mine was, and so I spent the rest of the day thinking and trying to determine what kind of teacher I am.  I'm really convinced that living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to go, but I'm worried that I'm not very loving or understanding when I talk about it with people.  That seems really contrary to what a representative of Jesus Christ should be, so I know I've got some work to do.  I'm glad I can learn from Elder Mitchell.

MLC was AWESOME!!  Elder Mitchell calls it the Jedi Council.  His description is not far off.  We all sat around the tables in the high council room in the Singapore stake center, and discussed the affairs of the mission.  Almost everything that we discussed directly corellated to our zone vision and the training we will present tomorrow.  (So, you can learn all the important, non-exclusively-Singapore-Mission-related things we talked about by reading PMG chapter 8.

Well, my time is far spent, there is little remaining, so I'll get working on pictures for you.  Just know that I love you A LOT, and I think of you often.  It was fun to skype with you, and I love seeing your pictures, too!  Good luck with life this upcoming week.  It sounds crazy, and I hope it's a good crazy!


P.S.  Thanks to both Haslam families that sent me Christmas photos and newsletters!

This "Jalan" has a road sign and everything, but it's actually just a sewage pipe that crosses a river. [A jalan is a road.]

The view from the Missionary house in Masai, one district in the JB/Melaka zone.

This bowl of Tom Yam was full of things that were not actually meant to be eaten.  The little bowl next to it is filled with all the things that I had to pick out.  They are added for flavor, but not for consumption.  It was the most difficult bowl of soup I've ever eaten.

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