Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Last Christmas 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. 

Christmas Skype Home
Dear Family and Friends!

I feel like I learned a lot this week. I keep remembering a kind rebuke given me in zone conference by my mission president ... "Ammon was not looking for sheep when he met King Lamoni." I have really been trying to take that to heart. This week I feel that Elder Brown and I have had multiple moments that we have taken care of a sheep or two that have reaped great rewards. It is an act of faith and at times scary because we always want the activities to directly effect the key indicators, but if the Spirit and your mission president tell you to not neglect taking care of sheep you best do it. The following is a miracle that Elder Brown and I had because we took care of sheep.

We had a really awesome investigator last transfer named K** who was progressing wonderfully. He kept his commitments and came to church weekly. He would even hang out with some of the members during the week because he made good friends. Sadly, the end of last transfer till this past week, he has kind of slipped under the radar. We have had occasional contact with him, but every time he has said he is too busy. This past week after teaching a member's older brother (who was found by taking care of sheep), the member we were teaching asked if we could go visit K**. We had a little bit of time so we headed over later that day. We wanted to have a lesson of course because that would help us reach our goals, but I felt it was not what he needed. We talked to him for a little bit. He told us work has been really stressful and that he has also been busy taking care of his mother who is very elderly. We asked him if there was anything we could do for him. He told us that his mom's room is really dusty and bad for her health, and she keeps getting bitten by bugs that live in there. We offered to help and he accepted the offer. He came to church yesterday and later in the afternoon we came with three members to help him. The room was in really bad condition. I am still sneezing dust out today. Even though I wanted to teach a lesson, a helping hand is what K**needed. After we finished helping him he asked us if he could offer a prayer before we left. As he prayed he was very emotional because of the help we were able to offer him.

We also were able to take a less-active member and his non-member girlfriend caroling with us. They both like it. They also came to the Christmas party and church on Sunday. It was so cool! We are hoping to start working with them more soon.

Oh! and one of the Nepalese guys came to all 3 hours of church yesterday. Don't know how much he understood, but he was a trooper through it :)

Most of the branch seems to be back in town. It is going to be nice to have a Branch Mission Leader to work with again. We were able to teach the older brother of one of the youth in the branch. The elders have never been able to meet with any of her family before because her mom says our church is "evil." The opposition in Sitiawan is also a blessing. This sister's brother wanted to meet us because all of his friends when they hear that she attends our church say that our church is evil and he wanted to know why. We were also able to give a blessing to a different member's mom who is not a member. I think we might be able to work with her more in the future. We have also found a lot of potentials who are friends of the members. That makes it much easier for us to help the members get involved.

We visited another member last night. As we talked to her we asked her what she feels was the difference between the elders last year who had a lot of success verses this year as we have reaped little. She said that although the elders this year have done their part and in many aspects have been more obedient, but they have been working on their own. The previous elders were always working with the members. I am hoping that I can find the proper balance between the two. It seems that the admonition in the scriptures to be "Temperate in all things" is becoming more clear. There is a way to have the members fully involved while being exactly I have to keep trying it till I figure it out.

Thanks for everything!

Elder Avery

Feeling Love from the Members (December 20, 2015)

New Year  (January 3, 2016)

This is our church building and Elder Brown has the light!

Helping K** clean his mom's room

Elder Brown was a little sleepy :)