Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year - 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. 

My guess is that Hannah and Kolby's baby is a BOY!
Dear Family and Friends!

This week I have chosen to increase my faith by trying to repent and change. All of us have things that we need to fix and improve on. Whether it is just being off by a couple minutes to the missionary daily schedule or being too casual in language. Repentance is still a hard thing for me because change is painful and at times very slow, but this morning as I was reading the conference Ensign I learned some important principles about repentance. 1. God will always give us more than we put in. (we give Him 10% for tithing and He gives us a blessing beyond our ability to receive). 2. God is always going to strengthen us as we strive to change and repent, especially if it is a particularly difficult or uncomfortable change, and 3. We only fail if we lose the faith to keep trying. Because of my lack of knowledge and my pride I'm not sure of all of the things I need to repent of at the moment, but the more I am willing to change the more will be revealed.

This past week we were leaving the mall where we had visited a member and handed out English Class flyers. As we were making our exit we passed a Chinese lady. I kept biking but when I turned around I saw Elder Brown talking to her. I flipped around to go assist him. The lady didn't seem to have much interest, but she introduced us to her son. He asked us a lot of great questions and told us that he has been really interested in Christianity lately and wants to know more. We gave him a call the other day to follow up and he said that we are welcome any time. This is just one of the many times that God has put prepared people in our path in an unexpected way. Too often we shrug off promptings because they don't make sense, but if God didn't prompt you to talk to someone because they were prepared it likely means they know someone who is prepared. If not, you get to participate in the preparation process.

We biked out to see Mr.Z** earlier this week. One of the young men was even willing to bike all the way out there to help us. We got there a little earlier so we talked to a couple people in the area and ended up sharing the Book of Mormon with a grandma that is now investigating. Mr. Z** came to church again which was so awesome.

I called K** on Saturday to remind him of church. When I called he said "Hey thanks for helping clean my mom is sleeping so much better now! We are fasting tomorrow right?" He also came to church again. During 2nd hour one of the sisters asked him, "When are you getting baptized?" He looked at us with an expression on his face that seemed to ask, "Can I still?" Later yesterday we taught him and he is now on date for the last week of February. Smoking seems to be the only major obstacle to his baptism.

On our preparation day we organized an activity with the youth. We all went to the church and watched Ephraim's Rescue. We invited all of the youth to invite their friends. One of the youth invited a friend who later this past week became a new investigator. Another youth says he wants us to organize a similar activity so he can invite his friends.

Biking in the night....!!
 Today we are going with the youth to see monkeys. We already have at least one member bringing a friend and possibly one more. Nearly every baptism in 2014 in Sitiawan  was a member referral. I am starting to more fully understand why President Hinkley, when talking about missionary work, called this "the better way." Imagine how different the growth of the church would be if every member prayed for their own missionary opportunities as much as they prayed for the missionaries. We have had a lot of help with a lot of the members and I think we are gaining their trust. This past week we helped a young woman and her non-member mom take down Christmas decorations. This next week we are helping another member to pick the fruit from her tree, and we are also helping some of the young woman who promised to get their personal progress before one of the ex-pat members gets back to finish it up. Branch council was brief and to the point yesterday. I like it that way. Seems like things are going in a good direction.

Love you all!
Elder Avery

My Last Christmas in Malaysia (December 27, 2015)

So Much Going On!  (January 10, 2016)

Rain drops are huge!