Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mission Milestones

Mission Milestones. I reached and our mission reached many milestones this past week that has me filled with the utmost joy and strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father is always here, and will never leave us alone. Never.

The first missionary milestone reached this past week was my 1 year mark! ONE YEAR! I have been serving the Lord with all I have for 365 days plus and as I have had time to reflect this I am so happy to be doing what I am doing. Just last night when I couldn't sleep, I could feel my heart growing. I realized that I love the Chinese people here. I love the members, I love the investigators, and I love speaking to them in Chinese. Though there are many things I do not understand about the culture those things no longer bother me, because my heart simply embraces these sons and daughters of Heavenly Father and loves them. So how did I celebrate? Well Sister Ng and I went on an adventure to get an

Second missionary milestone was Ayako! She was baptized on Saturday. She is my first girl investigator to be baptized. Up until this point in my mission I have only baptized males. That is no longer the case as my sweet friend from Japan was baptized. She was so cute! After she came up out of the water she just stood there for a moment and then clenched both fists and shook them as if to say, "Yes! That was great." Such faith she has. She doesn't understand much that goes on in church, but she is there every Sunday and now she is starting to attend institute as well! She is excited about temples and found out there is one near her home in Japan and was so ecstatic to tell us about her discovery.

The last mission milestone is for our whole mission. We had a goal for the month of June to baptize 100 converts. Monday morning on a special conference call with President and Sister Henderson they told us that we not only reached our goal, but surpassed it with 105 baptisms in June! Elder and Sister Hamula were on the conference call as well, and congratulated our mission for going the extra mile and reaching for higher heights. Then when President and Sister Henderson came to our flats on Monday for "on the road interviews" they congratulated our flat because Sister Ng and I had two baptisms and so did Sister Cabamongan and Chen! We were contributors to the mission's success! 

So much has happened in the past week that I just don't really know where to begin, such is the case each time P-day is on Wednesday! Too much happens in 9 days! Good thing I am a firm believer in keeping a daily journal.

Numerous miracles also occurred this week. Many times during the week we would have no lessons planned and the thought of walking through the city all day would put Sister Ng and I to our knees to plead with the Lord to give us some appointments so that I would be able to rest. We didn't GQ for a whole day once this week. The Lord always provided us with one or more lessons a day.

MRI! I did get to drive and that is always fun here in Australia because it's on the left side of the road and all. It was my first time to get an MRI and so I had no idea what was going to happen. They gave me one of those high fashion hospital gowns, laid me down on the table and then asked, "Is pop music okay?" I must be a real missionary, because I am pretty sure I made a face that suggested I hadn't ever listened to pop music in my life. They quickly offered classical as an alternative, which I gladly accepted. The MRI report is hard to understand for my non-science oriented mind, but something is wrong with my S1 nerve. Now I just wait to see a specialist later this month. All is well, miracles continue to occur.
On Wednesday we taught our investigator Linda, who is a bit older and been through more horrors in life than I hope to never experience. We showed her the video "Finding Faith in Christ" where it outlines the life of Christ. After the video Linda asked if Christ really did miraculously heal all those people. We told her yes and that miracles like that still occur today. She asked how, and so we explained the Priesthood and how it is a gift from God that has healing powers. She then asked if it were possible for her to receive one of those kinds of blessings. Luckily, new missionary training was going on at the chapel where we were teaching and so there were plenty of worthy Priesthood holders. We got the office elders to help us give Linda a blessing. Afterwards she just gave many many thanks to the elders, and even though the blessing was in English and she couldn't understand she could as she said, "feel the power fill her soul." Pretty incredible.
Friday was a bit emotional. We had a lesson with a less active at the church, and it just so happened to be leadership training as well, so all the Assistants, Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and President and Sister Henderson were all there. We finished our lesson the same time they started to eat lunch and take a break. President Henderson saw Sister Ng and I and said, "I want to meet with you two." So he sat us down and began to unfold for us his vision of why we had been placed over two wards. He told us that he feels that the Lord wants to bless us with a family to baptize and so we need to be in a Family Ward. He told us he wants us to continue to work with the YSA ward as well and keep baptizing in there as well. We were glad to finally have some understanding and some guidelines, such as no longer having to attend 6 hours of church, though we should still attend both wards, just not all the meetings. I also felt a lot of pressure. Probably didn't help that I was tired and in pain, but as I Sister Ng and I stood up to leave after President went to talk to other missionaries, I began to shake. I dropped everything because my hands were shaking, and finally I just leaned against the wall and began to sob. Tears of pain and tears of inadequacy fell down my face in a black mascara mess. Sister Ng handed me tissue and gently rubbed my back. My small 110lb companion forced me to walk forward past all my leaders until we found Sister Henderson. As Sister Ng explained that my pain was just getting worse, Sister Henderson looked at me with love and concern. Then President came over and looked at me and said, "Can I be your mission president? Stop feeling like you are not a good missionary. Take time to rest and do what you can. The Lord is pleased with your sacrifices and he has blessed you with a patient companion. Sister Ng is blessed with extra study time. Now trust in the Lord and do what you can." Tears stop, the weight on my shoulders was lifted and the Holy Ghost bore witness to me that what President Henderson said was true. The miracle is that my battle is no longer with my mind, only with my back pain.
The last miracle has boosted my faith in the Chinese people. Rarely, do you see Chinese people show the more tender sides of emotion, such as crying, and I am a huge baby sometimes, especially when the Spirit is strong. It has always been a little desire of mine to teach a lesson so powerful that the Spirit just penetrates an investigator and they cry. Last night we taught a girl named Sandy, from Taiwan. It was a simple lesson where we only taught Heavenly Father, prayer, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. We had a great member present with us from SunnyBank, and everything was going as it usually does. When we started to share about the way the Holy Ghost communicates with us I felt a change in the air, as the Holy Ghost settled in the tiny church classroom. Then we asked Sandy to say the closing prayer for us. She said a beautiful prayer and after we had all said "amen" I looked up and there was Sandy crying. She just said she felt so much peace and love. I was then able to share about the Holy Ghost sometimes communicating to me so strongly that it brings tears to my eyes as well. It was a beautiful sight to behold. I love the Holy Ghost. I encourage all to live worthy of his guidance and of his peace that only the Spirit can bring into life.
I love you all and am greatly appreciative of your prayers. They are being felt each day as I press on. We had interviews with President Henderson this past week as well and he told me they are going to do everything they can to get me fixed while I am still in Australia. I am happy about that, I am not ready to leave this giant country quite yet.
1) Ayako's Batism
2) Ayako Sister Ng and me and Phil, her fellowship, translator and now BOYFRIEND! Talk about good fellowship hahah

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