Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Little Piece of Vinyard - 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

Patronus Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Dear Family and Friends,

I would have rather taught more than one lesson this week, but I know that we did our part in talking to everyone, working with the branch, and following up with our investigators everyday. The worst part is when we teach people who feel the Spirit when we meet them and are super interested, commit to an appointment, and then they decide they are no longer interested for a totally invalid reason after we leave. Yesterday we were reading Jacob 5 before church. I couldn't help but feel the same way when the master of the vineyard says in sorrow, "what more could I have done for my vineyard?" I consider Puchong to be a choice spot of land in the vineyard. I know that it is capable of producing fruit because the English elders are thriving.

I am going to increase my faith by only worrying about what I can control. In missionary work we can't control the culture, climate, traffic, transportation, rules, language, and choices people make. We can however choose our attitude, how we adapt, how we feel, what we say, our level of obedience, and our commitment to Christ. All the worry in the world over things we can't control will never do anything. I know that by submitting to the will of God, by being patient and long-suffering with what we can't control, God will strengthen us to have a positive and optimistic attitude.

This week we went to visit a less active family. Near the family's house we saw a lady and her daughter come out of their car and try to scurry into the house before we could say anything...they were too slow, haha! We introduced ourselves to the mom, who tried to shew us away. We were persistent and kept at it. We knew there had to be an underlying concern. She finally said, "You're Jehovah's Witnesses, aren't you!?"  "Nope," we replied. "Are you sure?" she asked (haha!). "Yes!" we answered. We told her we were from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She let us in and introduced her to her husband Jo**. We started by asking about their religious background. They had to be some of the longest wind people I have ever met, haha! They just went off and told us their whole life story and we could not get a word in. Normally I would have just butted in, but we felt like we were just supposed to listen politely until they ran out of things to say. That was quite a struggle for me. God was helping me a lot with that. When they finished talking, they said that although they were not very interested in church that they were praying to help their 16 year old son J** to find a church, and that they feel we are an answer to their prayer. Jo** told us, "Even though you two haven't said anything this whole time, you have brought a really good feeling into our home." He then turned the time to us. We only had two minutes left, so after an opening prayer we shared a scripture from The Book of Mormon that met their needs and then asked the father to say a prayer. In his prayer he thanked God that we came and helped him and his family to have a very light feeling. Jo** came to church yesterday and we look forward to meeting them again this week.

We have launched the new branch initiative and we have a new branch mission leader. We have a sign up list for members to come do missionary work with us. We have a couple people signed up this week, so if we can't get any lessons for that time slot, we will have them drive us to visit some of the 100 less active members in the branch. That will help a lot because public transportation here is very poor.

Thanks for everything! Gotta go!

Elder Avery

Vision (March 21, 2016)

Singapore!  (April 4, 2016)