Monday, April 27, 2015

Two for one

Oh, hey.  We didn't hear what happened with transfers.  Are you still in JB?
-- Mom and Dad
P.S. We didn't get a letter last week . . . if you thought you sent it.
We assumed transfers were crazy and you didn't have time.

Yep, I'm in JB, where I'll almost definitely stay until the end of my mission.  My new companion is Elder Hanks.  He's from Kaysville, UT.  He was an athlete at Davis High School, and is just really good at everything.  He's really outgoing, talkative, and personable.  He's really focused and obedient, but just does some little things in a different way than I've ever done, so we haven't quite found a groove yet.  I'm confident that I'll learn a lot from him, and learn to love him quickly.  I think he really likes being a zone leader, and I'm really grateful for his help with everything so far!!

Oh yeah... Stuff has been rudely interrupting my recent email sessions.  Sorry!  I hope you weren't too worried about me!  I'll find the draft I saved from last week and send it to you right away.

Dear Family,
Wow, lots of crazy stuff has been happening lately!  Last week at email time, one of our best investigator families had some issues, and needed our help immediately.  We enlisted the help of the Bensons, and helped them move from their house to their friend's house nearby.  We cried a lot with them because of all the trials they've been going through and the decisions they've made recently.  We thought all was settled down and we'd probably not go to meet and teach them again.  The very next day, they moved themselves back into the place they'd just run away from.  All this drama that's been happening is not over yet, and I'm just really confused.  Anyway, thanks for being patient with me last week.
Great things that happened this week:
We found a miracle new investigator who

Our Investigator, finally given the code name Hannah, was baptized and confirmed this week!!  HOORAY!!!  She reads the Book of Mormon every day, says the most sincere prayers, and she hasn't missed a week of church since the day we met her!  After her baptism, she gave one of the best testimonies I've ever heard at a baptismal service!  She testified that she is anxious to continue to learn in the Church and come closer to Heavenly Father for the rest of her life!  She's the only one in her family that's a member now, but her mom and brother attended her baptismal service and I hope they were able to feel the Spirit and know of Hannah's sincerity.  Hannah flew back to Korea with her family yesterday.  Because she'd been planning on baptism for a long time, she arranged in advance for a flight in the evening so that she'd be at church for her confirmation.  She's awesome!!
At the same baptismal service, another investigator whom I worked with last year, Rosie's son, was baptized, too!  Because he's got school Sundays (the weekend in Johor state, changed by decree of the sultan, is still Friday-Saturday) I confirmed him a member of the Church on the same night, just after his baptism.  I'm so happy for his whole family!!  This night was one to remember.  I'm just so filled with gratitude for the miracles the Lord has let me witness recently!  I know the gospel has blessed, and will continue to bless the lives of these fantastic people whom I love so much, and that just brings me so much joy!
Joy.  That's something that I've been thinking about lately.  I promise people all the time that living the gospel of Jesus Christ will help them come closer to God, and bring joy into their lives.  I really do feel that the Gospel has brought a lot of joy into my life, but I sometimes struggle with promising people specific blessings if they will obey a commandment or keep a commitment.  I hope this is just a bad habit of being a little too general in what I say, and not an indication that I don't truly love or care for these people.  Where do your biggest joys come from, specifically?

[Mom’s note: I think the above letter was written but not sent last week, and the following is this week’s news.]

Dear Family,

Here's a quick excerpt from my letter to President Mains:

This past week, I felt a bit low on faith that I could be a successful missionary.  However, my faith has increased dramatically since Elder Hanks and I made a transfer vision, including goals that we really wanted to accomplish and plans to help us accomplish them.  To be very honest, I don't feel like my faith is incessantly burning in my heart, moving me to tireless action, but I do really believe that the plans we've made and the actions we're beginning to take in order to achieve our goals are in line with what God wants us to do in our area this transfer.  This has lifted my spirits and strengthened my faith in the enabling power of the Savior's grace.

An amazing miracle I saw this week:  Our investigator family of focus from two weeks ago, which had been separated and all but destroyed, is back together, living happily and humbly with each other again!  It broke my heart to see our favorite family split up, desperately trying to get away from each other and reject the things that we were teaching them just a week ago.  Miraculously, they have come back together, deciding after all to stay as a family, and to learn and apply the things we teach them.  The mother is on date to be baptized again, and is diligent in reading and praying each day.  I have seen the healing power of the word of God in the lives of people I love, and it strengthens my testimony that the Lord is able to help us overcome any challenges we will ever face in life, no matter how terrible!

I have nothing more to send to you today!!  I've been answering emails from the mission office to me just now - I've never had so many before.  I feel bad if you're all just waiting around the computer or something, and then I never send you mail.
I hope the next few weeks of email time won't be so packed with other stuff, so I can actually write to you!  Maybe I'll start taking pictures of written letters and sending those again!  (Oh yeah, I've even been so busy that I don't have time to write my journal at nights, so we'll see.)
Even if I don't send you a lot of mail, please know that I love you all and I think of you often!!
Tons of love,


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