Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Zone Conference - 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. 

This week was trying in a lot of ways, but I know God is still blessing our efforts and we are seeing miracles. The Christmas Zone conference was so awesome. I loved the training, the music, and the food. I am always amazed by the sacrifice of the members in the church.

This past week we have been able to talk to many people who have expressed some interest. I feel like every week we get better at talking to people. I will admit that it is hard to have most people look at us with fear and try to run away, and that the number of people who are honest with us when we talk to them is probably less than 10%. People will do just about anything to get away from us. On the way to the internet cafe we talked to a man who, without looking, nearly pulled himself and his wife into oncoming traffic twice before his wife stopped him.

I didn't realize before my mission that disciples of Jesus Christ are so disliked by the world, but now it's kind of like "duh!" of course they don't like us. We make them do things. Coming to church is more than dancing and listening to a band (other churches do this). It requires effort on the part of the participant. We come to church to reflect on our week and the Savior's sacrifice, and then do our best to sacrifice more of our will to His will for us.

Casual listening is frowned upon in our church. In our meetings, we must listen closely to not just the speaker but, most importantly, the Spirit. Sometimes other people/churches want their answers right now! Most don't take their efforts further than asking their pastor and they exclude the hours of prayer, study, faith, patience, and long-suffering required to get answers from God. Rather than seeking to achieve greatness all these things, many people are just looking to avoid pain. They don't care about returning to live with Heavenly Father (or know that's important). They just don't want to go to hell and have consequences for their choices. I am increasing my faith by not giving up on these people. Christ has never said me or anyone else here is beyond help. I don't now how to help these people care about their salvation and eternal happiness, but I am sure through greater prayer, scripture study, patience, and experience it will all make a little more sense. We are finding people who let us teach, but none of them are showing any real progress.

This week Elder Brown and I were by the church when we saw a Chinese family walking into the restaurant by the chapel. We tried to talk to the parents but they ignored at us, then told us off. I was going to leave and try and find someone else, but Elder Brown saw their teenage daughter walking a little ways behind them and talked to her. She ended up expressing mild interest and even gave us her contact information while her father was shouting at her. During fast and testimony meeting one of the girls in our branch told us that was a good friend of hers, and she has always wanted to share with her but was scared because of her friend's parents.

During fast and testimony meeting nearly all of the members talked about missionary work. It was so awesome, even though we ended up finding two of those members at a food court last night... :( Then, 3rd hour we helped teach Sunday School. The topic was on sharing the gospel. The members seemed into it. We even picked some of them to come role play with us. At the end we gave them all the new pass along cards to give to a friend this week. Our branch mission

Earlier this week we also were able to bring a member to teach a less-active member. We were surprised when that less-active member brought a friend to teach! It was cool. They also took us to get some great Chinese food. Sadly, they didn't come to church either. We will keep working on them and maybe organize a caroling activity so we can reach out to other less-active members.
leader leaves this week and I don't think we will be seeing him till January. We rely on his family a lot in our branch, so this will be a good opportunity to see which other members want to step up to the plate during their absence.

Thanks for everything!

Elder Avery

Miracles and a Cute Dog (November 29, 2015)

Exhausting Week and Exchanges  (December 13, 2015)