Sunday, January 10, 2016

So Much Going On! - Elder Joshua Avery

Visiting the monkeys for P-day
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,

There is always so much to say and too little time. Congrats to Hannah and Kolby! A GIRL! We were all wrong, haha!

This week was awesome. It was a trial of faith but through it we saw some great miracles. This week I have been increasing my faith by going on another 40 day fast (not from food and water). I made a list of things I do that limit my spiritual sensitivity and I am giving them up for these next 40 days and hopefully the rest of my life or mission at least. I fasted yesterday so that I would have inspiration as to what things I should put on my list. I officially started today, but I am confident the list will grow.

The start of this week was slow. The school year started for the kids here so things felt kind of dead. We were struggling to find people. Some parts of the city were a ghost town. No one wanted to meet because they all think they are to busy because of school. On Wednesday we went to a neighborhood that we felt prompted to go to. We locked up our bikes and began to walk around committed to talk to everyone we saw. That turned out to be quite the challenge because there was literally no one. I kept praying that we would at least find some sign of life. It got really hot and Elder Brown was getting sunburned pretty bad. We found a shady spot and rested for a bit and then made our way back to our bikes. On the way back Elder Brown ended up talking to a lady outside her house who is the mother of a former investigator. We had to drop him because he wouldn't talk to his parents about him learning and we didn't want to have secret meetings with him. She has some interest so we will have to meet with her soon so her son can learn too.

Thursday we met with an Indian man who has a lot of faith and volunteers his time and service at a church and helps a lot of people. He confided with us that he has not prayed in months because his head feels cloudy and he has been having some depression. We gave him a blessing. And afterwards his whole family wanted one. He gave a prayer at the end of the lesson.

Saturday was full of miracles. The lesson with the Indian man had been our only lesson the whole week and our finding was not going well. The previous night a member told Elder Brown that he wanted us to help him out the following morning. Well we were in for a surprise! We get a call from the member right after our breakfast and morning exercise saying "I'm here!," so we jumped in the car and he took us to breakfast and a bunch of other places. Then he told us that the truck was late so he took us home and we showered and started our studies. 40 min later we get a call saying, "We are here". I opened the door to see a truck the size of a moving truck in front of our house filled with stuff. "Yikes!" I thought. Well, we helped him unload some stuff onto our porch. He says he needs us to keep it till the begining of next month. Then he took us somewhere else to unload the rest of the stuff ranging from big air tanks and welding equipment and saws and wires and who knows what, haha! Well after that we had no time for further studies.

We have been trying to improve our work with members this week by helping them do their home teaching. So after our service Saturday morning we took a family home teaching. We taught them how to do it and it was a wonderful experience. We were also able to go home teaching with a less-active member and his dad. We are hoping to get the first 100% home teaching Sitiawan has ever seen. Everyone we have gone home teaching with has said they have never done it before.

After a day of home teaching and unloading a truck we cleaned the church and by then it was dinner time. We scarfed down some dinner and went to two lessons that we were able to nail down during dinner. The second lesson had me a little frustrated because the lady couldn't understand me...We drove to the next house and the guy told us he would be like 20-30 minutes late. Well that had me a little bummed. I was sitting in the car sad thinking, "We have almost no lessons, that lady couldn't understand me, and we have no new investigators or any idea where they will come from."

After letting God know how I felt, I opened the car door. The member in the car said, "where are you going?" "To find people," I replied. Because the house we were at was in the middle of nowhere he said, "where?" I pointed down a dark road that looked like it led to more nowhere. We walked a little bit down it when  a group of dogs were on the road barking. The member wanted to go back but we insisted on going and scared the dogs away. We looked at the houses but I didn't feel like we should knock any of them so we kept going until we found one that felt right. We knocked it and as soon as we did our phone rang. Elder Brown answered the phone and it was a potential investigator we had been wanting to meet who said she could meet later that night. While that was going on the member and I were talking to the lady who answered the door. She came out and half way to the gate, and then she and the member started yelling things like "hey! no way! It's you!" I was puzzled and then they explained they are old friends that haven't seen one another in years. She let us in and we shared about the Book of Mormon for two minutes and set a return appointment for the next day. When we met the potential who called us during all that, she brought a friend who wanted to learn too.

The next day when we met the lady we had knocked the door of and she had read part of the Book of Mormon. During the lesson the member explained to her how we found her and that God had sent us to her. In the car on the way home he said that he had tried to visit her before but never knew where her house was. I know that God lives and guides us by His Holy Spirit and that we receive no witness till after the trial of our faith. I believe God was willing to give us those miracles because we acted on faith.

Well that's all for now folks!

Love you,
Elder Avery

New Year (January 3, 2016)

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

For REAL?!!