Sunday, January 31, 2016

Parable of Lehi's Family - 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.  

Dear Family and Friends,

This week I have had my faith increase through my Book of Mormon study. I compared the story of Lehi and his family traveling through the wilderness to our work as missionaries. We have Lehi and his wife (the mission president and his wife) who receive revelation for their family and leads them. Nephi (I liken him to those in leadership positions) receives commands from Lehi, and then Nephi rallies his brothers to carry it out. Laman and Lemuel (missionaries who lack the faith to try to carry out the tasks given them by the mission president) murmur and miss home the whole journey. and think success is not possible for them. Sam (missionaries not in a leadership position but who are just as faithful and diligent as Nephi) supports his brother Nephi who has been chosen to be a leader. Sam often has to endure the same opposition and mocking from others that Nephi does. I think, depending on the day, we can feel like a Nephi and Sam, or a Laman and Lemuel. As we study their attributes we can learn how to avoid the temptation to murmur and more faithfully support our priesthood leaders.

We have been challenged by the Assistants (to the mission president) to always talk to the first person out the door, even if it is the same person everyday.   The other day as we got on our bikes we saw one of our neighbors, who is a grumpy old man, outside of his house. They have not been very kind to us. I don't think they have said more than two or three words to us ever. I did not want to talk to them and considered not doing it, but I felt that I should. When we stopped our bikes we realized that our old grumpy neighbor had fallen out of his wheel chair! He was on his knees on the pavement and was in a lot of pain. His little Indonesian maid was trying to help him, but was having no success. Elder Brown and I were able to lift him into his wheel chair and head on our way. He probably still doesn't like us, but I feel that I did what the Savior would have done. I know that listening to our leaders will bless us in ways we don't expect.

We were able to get a less-active member and his returned-missionary daughter to come help us teach a lesson. We wanted to get some less-active lessons this week, but I feel that them coming to teach with us is just as good or better. We also walked to a lesson with a member who doesn't have a car, and on the way he referred two of his nieces who we were able to teach Saturday and they came to all 3 hours of church Sunday.

Before the teaching visit Saturday we had a little bit of extra time so we went finding with the member and everyone we talked to was...interesting. First we talked to some ladies who ended up being prostitutes from Vietnam with poor Chinese, and then we met a young tattooed Chinese man who was wearing one of those beauty face mask things. He thought he was really tough. He ended up getting really ticked off and yelling in our faces and was going to call the police.

After all that, we got some coconut with the member and he said, "that guy was really hot-headed. Is missionary work always this hard?" We told him that it's only like this sometimes, but there are also really good times and that it's not just hard in Sitiawan, but all around the world.

We didn't reach our home teaching goal last month but it was definitely a good start. We are getting home teaching visits set up for this week so that we can start the month off strong. I feel like the members are becoming more qualified in a lot of ways and I have seen a lot of growth in them.

Thanks for everything!
Elder Avery

The Storms of Life Always End (January 24, 2016)

Find Those That Will Receive You  (February 7, 2016)