Things seem to be hastening here in Johor Bahru. It has been a week of miracles! As Elder Mitchell and I focused on filling the funnel by our own finding efforts and by using the potential investigator forms, we met many more people who were willing to learn about Jesus Christ. We came back to the apartment each night, seemingly with more miracles to share with the other Elders than we'd had the previous day! One particular miracle that I witnessed this week was that our newest investigator accepted a baptism date! We talked to him for the very first time only last Saturday. We walked a little way with him and invited him to church the next day. The next morning, he attended all three hours, and participated in the lessons! We met him a couple of days later at his home to teach him about the restoration. He asked how he could know that the message was true in the first lesson, and he committed to be baptized on February 28 in our second lesson! I really feel that the Lord's hand is at work here, and I'm very excited to continue working with Him! I've never felt such an excitement for missionary work before in my mission!
We also had companion exchanges with the assistants this week, so I got to be companions with Elder Wadsworth for a day. (In case you don't remember him, he lived in the same house as me in Singapore and JB last year and the year before. Woah. That's a scary sentence.) We took the assistants out to our new favorite restaurant, Fat Cow Burgers, for a nice american meal, then got to work finding people who need the gospel. I have been working on becoming a better contacter - I think that has been one of my biggest weaknesses throughout my whole mission - so as soon as we stepped out of the restaurant, I opened my mouth to a man who surprised us as he walked by. I learned that he doesn't live in our area, but that he comes to JB weekly. He said his entire family was Buddhist, but he'd like to learn about Christianity. Per Elder Wadsworth's suggestion, we whipped out a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and asked him to read the first few paragraphs right there on the street. He gladly complied, and said he was interested to learn the answers to the "Big 3" questions, "Where did I come from?", "Why am I here?", and "Where will I go after I die?". We've got an appointment to meet again and teach him this week when he returns to JB!
A few minutes later, as we walked past a street hawker food stand, the owner came over and stopped us.
He asked, "Are you the Bear one?"
Apparently, he remembered that I had stopped at that food stand for a satay one night about a year ago, and talked to his friend about our English class and coming to church. He said that he was really busy but that he'd like to meet again, too!
I know that it's going to be really hard to actually meet up with all of the people that we miraculously met this week, but I've never been more hopeful that people are actually being prepared, and placed in our path, to hear the gospel. I'll be doing all I can to help these people find the answers to their questions of the soul.
A question for you all: How can I learn to be more loving? How can I better understand and help meet people's needs?
This is the question that I asked in my personal study today, because I often feel that I don't quite see the big picture of someone else's situation. I feel like something's impeding my focus or my ability to see clearly. I really do love the people I meet and I desire their salvation, but I don't feel that I show that love very well. I sincerely want to help people, but I only know how to encourage them to pray, read, come to church, have FHE, etc. I believe that doing these things with real intent and a sincere heart will bring a sense of peace and direction, a relationship with their loving Heavenly Father, into people's lives that will help more than anything I could ever do. At the same time, I feel that there is still something I could be doing to be more loving and comforting to people as I meet with them.
So far, as I thought to myself, "If I were my investigator, I don't think I would know that I loved me," I've discovered that I can simply express my love and concern more often, by the words I speak. I've also discovered that it's better to ask questions and to understand clearly than to just catch the gist of what someone says and making them happy by letting them think that I know what they said.
I would love to hear what suggestions you all have, as well.
Thanks for all your love and support always!! I love you all so much, too!!