Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter in Malaysia - Elder Joshua Avery

Written by Elder Joshua Avery, serving in the Singapore Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Mandarin Chinese.
Elders Wadsworth and Avery
Hello! Everyone!
Mom, I love your emails. Don't worry about them. It is great, and I am far from trunky. I love Ipoh and would never want to leave, except that the members are so nice that they make me more than spiritually fat. I am still the same weight as before, but things are feeling a little more squishy, haha! I think it is a tender mercy before I get sent to East Malaysia.
Wednesday night Elder Wadsworth and I met with a Chinese family that we recently started teaching. As we got to know the family, we learned that the father investigated the church about 15 years ago and still has his outdated Chinese Book of Mormon that those missionaries gave him all those years ago. The book looks like it has been very lightly used. He has 2 daughters and 2 sons. His oldest son, Zi**, is 19 and leaves for college soon studying IT, and the second son, Z**, is 16. The father says he is a very hard working boy. They have a daughter who is eleven years old and recently got third in a regional tae kwon do competition, and a 5 year old daughter who is the real boss of the house. The mother is a devout Buddhist and will not sit in on the lessons.

When we started the lesson, we followed up on the family's commitment to read. The father had not read because he was "too busy." To our amazement, both of his sons had read and the father said he saw the Book of Mormon at their bedsides every night. After teaching the Plan of Salvation, we started talking about the previous invitation to be baptized. The father went off about how he needs proof. He said that we can't prove there is a God, and said if there was a God, why would God be smarter than him. He said he needed evidence that he could see and hold in his hands. I'm sure you can imagine how things kind of heated up inside of Elder Wadsworth and I when he said that.

Elder Wadsworth quickly called him out and testified that God is the creator of Heaven and Earth, and we are infants in our understanding compared to Him. I then testified of the Book of Mormon, and told him that it is the evidence he is seeking....that he can hold it in his hands, he can see it, he can read it, and he can ask God if it is true. I told him it is no surprise that he doesn't know if God exists, but that he CAN know if he sincerely reads the Book of Mormon and asks God, with real intent, if He is there and if this book is true.

Then, we again extended the invitation to be baptized. The father said no for now. We turned to Z** (16 year old), who said yes and committed to a date next month. Then we asked the older son, Zi**, who said when he knows it is true he will accept our invitation. It is interesting how each of their decisions about baptism reflects their individual diligence. At the end of the lesson, Z**, the younger son, offered his first prayer. It was the best prayer! Commitments are everything! Regardless of age, those who rely on God become leaders in their home.

We continue teaching our investigator, Li**. She has a hard time because her husband works in China. She moved here with their only daughter because China is getting dangerous, and she does not like what is being taught in schools there. She has had a hard time understanding why the atonement is important, or even religion in general. I shared with her some of the hard and lonely times I had while I was growing up and Dad was working in D.C. or New York. She was able to relate very well to how I felt. I shared with her the importance of scripture study and prayer, and how those things give us comfort and guidance while our loved ones are gone. 

Then I testified of the importance of eternal families and explained that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice she and her husband are making for their daughter will be worth it. All of that lost time will be made up, and they will have an eternal family if they follow Jesus Christ. I think she finally understood a little better why the atonement is so important!

I wouldn't change the trials or experiences our family has had for anything. Nothing was better for my personal growth and progression than having to be reliant on my Heavenly Father at such a young age. You have taught me so much! Thanks for everything you do.

We also found another great investigator, who we are passing to the English elders because he doesn't speak a lick of Mandarin.

I am so happy about Heather's mission call!! I loved seeing the video. That was awesome :)
Love You,
Elder Avery

Farming Fish  (March 30, 2015)

40 Day Fast  (April 13, 2015)

These photos are from our Easter dinner at Sister Chris's house. She takes such good care of the missionaries!