19 January 2015
Well, I'll just begin at last P-Day and walk you through my week from there. We had a fun zone activity: the Elders came in from Masai and Melaka to play fun minute-to-win-it games at the church and then we watched 17 Miracles at the Schollenbergers'. (If you haven't seen it recently, I highly reccommend it!)
Tuesday was the long-awaited Zone Meeting of Destiny. It was a great learning experience for me! We gave a training about how to use our time more effectively, maintaining our Area Books to keep a record of our area, and finding new people to add to our teaching pools. The Schollenbergers helped us out with a fun half-time break, and we invited a few other missionaries to train us, in two break-out sessions, about goal-setting in faith, and accountability and the atonement. I feel that I have learned a lot about accountability this week. I know I'm not the expert on the subject, but I have really seen that things like commitment without follow-up, goals without plans, or work not reported are useless. I have pondered the reality of me giving a personal accounting to the Savior for how I use His time each day of my mission, and my talents throughout my life, and it kind of scares me. Actually, it motivates me to be better. I've started to give an accounting of my day to God in my prayers at night.
On Wednesday, we took a three hour bus ride to Melaka to conduct exchanges with the Elders there. At one of our teaching appointments there, I learned a valuable lesson about helping people understand your expectations and being bold and loving in inviting them to come unto Christ. It was also fun to see the colorful city of Melaka. You may be able to get a better feel for it if you Google it, but from what I understand, it is a famous port city, with a heavy Portuguese influence. [Also spelled Malacca, it's a key port on the Malacca Strait, between the Malay Peninsula and the island of Sumatra; the strait connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans.]
After we returned to JB on Friday, we struggled to make plans for the coming week - mostly because we were really tired and because nothing is really certain in people's schedules as Chinese New Year approaches. We spent several hours on the weekend street contacting. We met several nice people, including a big Hindu/Christian Indian family, and an elderly Chinese man out for his afternoon walk. As we spoke to the man, he said he has nothing to do with his time anymore so he'd love to come to church with us. We didn't think he'd remember, but the next morning, he arrived at church right on time! He stayed for all the classes and seemed to enjoy reading from Gospel Principles, but he doesn't want us to come over to his house to teach him, yet. I'll keep praying that he opens his heart to the gospel message.
Yesterday, we were surprised to have two couples, the Balls and the Bloxhams, from Pocatello, Idaho, and one couple from Brazil, drop in on our sacrament meeting. Purely by coincidence, six foreigners somehow arrived at exactly the same time at our small shoplot church building in JB! When I walked over to talk to them after the meeting, I was stunned to hear Sister Balls say, "Elder Baer...well, the only Baer I know is Steve Baer from Pocatello."
On the bus rides to and from Melaka I searched the scriptures for ways that I can become a better missionary. I read Mosiah 11-18, specifically, to learn about Abinadi's mission. I'm glad mine hasn't been as hard as his, but I really admire how bold and faithful Abinadi was. I have a hard time putting myself in the position of people in the scriptures, sometimes, but I know that if I was in Abinadi's shoes, it would be really hard for me to declare repentance as boldly and plainly as he did. It was definitely not socially acceptable to do and say the things he did, but he was more concerned about what the Lord wanted than what he wanted. He knew the scriptures well, and qualified for the presence of the Holy Ghost, which brought indisputable power to his preaching. I have such a desire to improve and do what the Lord wants me to do, but most of the time I don't know exactly what steps to take or what the future will bring. When I feel this way, I hope I can remember and learn from Abinadi's example! Who are your favorite scripture heroes? I'd love to hear from you next week!
Good luck with all the business of the coming week, and tons of love,
P.S. I've just gotten word that a fantastic investigator whom I taught in Ipoh was just baptized!! Yaay!! She is one whose gate we knocked on our "one last street" of the day. I think it was a miracle that we met, and an even bigger miracle that she was able to feel the Holy Ghost teaching her the truth of the gospel. She has accepted it whole-heartedly, and I can't express how happy I am for her!!
Freshly Harvested Cocoa beans at an investigator's house in Melaka. Chinese Elders.
Me and a real live duran tree in Melaka!