Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fire in the Woodlands - 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,

We had a lot of exciting miracles this week. We had so many lessons and we have a lot of investigators who are progressing really well. I think one of the biggest ways my faith was increased was just by seeing the results of our efforts. Faith is amazing. Just by believing in something you can't see and putting all the effort you can muster into that thing creates miracles. It is amazing how much the ward has changed already. The members seem excited and we have a lot of awesome investigators preparing for baptism and less active members who are coming back.

One of the miracles that happened this week exemplifies the importance of nightly planning and seeking the Lord's help in our planning. In our nightly planning, Elder Spurrier and I felt prompted to go visit an active member family that we have never been to visit before. When we were right outside of their block we talked to a lady from Malaysia who said, "I know you. You're the Mormons!" I responded, "Hey! You know us. How did you know?" She told us she is a member who lives in that same block as the active member family, but she has been less active for years so her records are lost. She said the other members in her block don't know about her because she hides from them and she used to be in a different ward. I don't know if she is ready to come back, but just the fact that we were able to get her information and locate her is amazing!

I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Stratton who is serving in Kuching this week. We had a really awesome opportunity that day. We got to teach a lesson at Elder Woo's house (he's an area seventy) with someone he contacted on his way back from the Philippines. He is a really intelligent and wealthy Indian man who works for Cisco. We made sure to arrive to the appointment early so we could role play the lesson with Elder Woo and his wife. Because they recently got a new maid we just taught her for our role play, haha. It was nice because then we were able to teach a real person with real concerns. After the role play we had the Woo's trust and they are going to have us teach some other people they know. The lesson went well and we will meet the guy when he is back in Singapore again (he is gone for extended periods of time). We had a lot of new investigators and a lot of them were from referrals.

The members seem to like us a lot more now. They were way scared of us at first because we can be pretty intense, but now that we are having more success they are on board with it. Yesterday in 3rd hour it was combined for 5th Sunday. Brother Wong from the bishopric spoke. He pulled all of the statistics for the other countries in the Asia area and pretty much called everyone out because Singapore was the lowest on there. Elder Spurrier and I shared that at the rate things are moving, Singapore will not have another stake for at least 40 plus years, and that every ward needs to start baptizing 20 people a year so we can have a new stake in 5 years. Everyone seemed pretty pumped by that. The marble jar is also helping the members feel more involved. I never thought putting a marble in a jar could generate so much excitement. But they love it!


Elder Avery

Faith in Christ (May 22, 2016)

Three Baptisms  (June 5, 2016)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Faith in Christ - 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.

(Elder Avery sent a voice recording last week instead of an email.) 

Dear Family and Friends,

My faith in Jesus Christ has grown a lot this week as I have been reading the Book of Mormon. I feel like every week when I share how my faith has grown, it almost always has something to do with the Book of Mormon. I don't think that is a bad thing at all. The Book of Mormon gives me the Faith, Focus, Energy, and Skills I need to be successful in life and missionary work. To all of those Book of Mormon haters or people who are unsure about whether or not it is true, I say to you, "There is no fruit that is more sweet and joyous to my soul. No book has inspired me to do good, love God, and forsake sin like the Book of Mormon...or in other words QUIT JUDGING MY APPLE BY EATING ORANGES!" This past week I was reading Alma's advice to his sons. It was amazing!

This week one of my favorite miracles was when one of our investigators named R** came to church with her family. She is from China and her husband is local. Her husband is a less active member. We went to go visit him and found out he had a wife who was not a member and they have two kids. We are teaching her the lessons and reteaching him the lessons. She has amazing faith and keeps every commitment we give her. She is the one encouraging her husband to come to church and helping him keep the word of wisdom. It is pretty amazing. I was so happy when they were all at church yesterday. It was definitely the highlight of my week :)

Our members seem to be more involved and on the same page now. I am definitely loving the marble jar. We are having the members put in their marbles when they helped us teach a lesson or gave a referral and they seem to love it. We already have a good amount of marbles. This week the ward mission leader talked to the other ward missionaries about how we need to step it up as a ward because we are supposed to be the "example ward." They seem to be catching some fire.

Love you all,

Elder Avery

Mother's Day (May 8, 2016)

Fire in the Woodlands  (May 29, 2016)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day - 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,

Happy Mothers Day, Mom!!! :) <3 Mothers Day is one of my favorite holidays ever! It is right up there with Christmas. I felt so much joy as we went around Singapore wishing moms happy Mother's Day and singing them Mother's Day songs. I think it surprised a lot of people at first, but it was so great to see all of those amazing mothers out there smile. Mothers are amazing! A lot of the husbands we talked to said they didn't have any plans for their wives on Mother's Day...I am so grateful for my amazing dad :)

This week I have increased my faith by my study of the Book of Mormon. All of those anti-Mormons, atheists, and haters out there don't understand that the Book of Mormon destroys everything they could ever say. This week I read Alma 30, which is one of my favorite chapters. This is the chapter that Alma takes down Korihor the anti-Christ. I love it because Korihor's arguments are the same as the anti-Christ arguments in the world today. Korihor tried to convince people that they just imagined up the revelations God had given them, that their hopes were vain, and that their beliefs were foolish traditions of their fathers. These are just a few of the many arguments Korihor makes. He leads many away, but there are faithful people, like the people of Ammon, who give him no heed. the Book of Mormon is the best :) I can't think of anything that God has used to enrich my life more than a continuous serious study of the Book of Mormon. People who never taste the fruit will never know.

This week I went on an exchange with Elder Sabin from Johor Bahru. His Chinese has gotten really good. I was super impressed :) He is willing to try everything and works really hard. We have amazing zone leaders. I invited him to start speaking only Chinese with his companion when he is outside the house. I think that will be really good :)

I also went on an exchange with Elder Duckworth from Kuching. He is doing amazing. He is such a young missionary, so it blows my mind how well he has a handle on things. I think he is just as skilled as all the other zone leaders, but because he and Elder Stratton are still so young they are more teachable. It was way fun working with him. All of our plans fell through, so we were able to demonstrate how to work the "goldmine" (less active members) and talk to people on the way. We found a lot of people who showed a lot of interest.

At the end of the week Elder Spurrier and I got to spend some time together. All of our plans fell through and it was pretty frustrating. This was the most potential investigators I have ever found in a week on my mission, but we only had 2 or 3 actually answer their phones. On Saturday we went to visit someone on our back-up plans, only to find that the address was incomplete. We called potential investigators for a little while, when we realized that a less active member we hadn't thought of lived near where we were. We went to the house and found the son of the family home alone. We asked him how his day was and he said, "bad." We asked him why and he told us that his parents were both sick and in the hospital. He invited us in and let us give him a blessing. After the blessing he said that he will talk to his boss about getting work off on Sunday so he can come to church. We called one of the ward members who is friends with this family, and he said that he had already gone to the hospital to give the parents blessings (he is a returned missionary, so he is on top of it). It was cool to see how God put us in that kid's path through what we thought were unfortunate events.

The members are doing well. We had a good amount of potential investigators, less-actives, and investigators at Sacrament Meeting. I think that really helps earn the members' trust. The ward mission leader keeps telling us that he is getting complaints from members that we are pushing them to hard, which makes me happy :) that means we are doing our job. There is little growth in a comfort zone, so to hear that people are uncomfortable is a good sign. The returned missionaries here are all on board, it's just a few members are having a little bit of a hard time. S** (one of our recent converts) just got called as a ward missionary. Things are picking up pace!

Love you,
Elder Avery

Baptism and Travels (May 2, 2016)

Faith in Christ  (May 22, 2016)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Baptism and Travels - 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.

Baptism of Brother B**
Dear Family and Friends,

This week was awesome :) I love serving with Elder Spurrier. I learn so much from him! It's typically not in the things that he says, but just by his example. He is always two steps ahead, very organized, works hard, and loves God.

Earlier this week I went on an exchange with Elder Lundahl-Wolford. He is a very happy missionary, has a lot of faith, and is not afraid to talk everyone. We taught a new Indian family together. It was exciting because teaching families is the best, but I am not sure if this family will act on what we teach. They are stuck in the "I'm too busy" state of mind. We can all make time if it's important to us.

In the second half of the week we went to Butterworth to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders there. I served with Elder Harker and loved it a lot. He works so hard and loves God so much. He reminds me a lot of Elder Lloyd. He he is a big guy who played a lot of sports in high school, but he is really gentle. At least now he is, haha! I think missions change people. I was so impressed because he is still such a young missionary and he is already doing amazing. Before he got there the area was totally dead and now it looks like they will have reached their yearly baptismal goal by the end of the first half of the year. On the exchange we really pushed advertising for English Class. I think that all of West Malaysia needs to take English Class advertising to the next level. I hear that's where most of Taiwan gets their investigators from. I made sure to go crazy with English Class advertising and we had a good amount of success. We had a car pull over and ask for the information about it and they also said they wanted to learn more about Jesus. Hooray! We also had another lady chase us down to get information about it. That's the beauty of using English Class. People chase you down for a change, haha! :)

Brother B** got baptized this week. He is a miracle. We are not allowed to baptize Muslims from Bangladesh, and pretty much everyone from Bangladesh is Muslim. He happened to be Christian and, not only that, but he is also way prepared. All of the people from Bangladesh have rough lives here, working tough jobs, with tough hours, and never see their family. He is a one in a million. I remember when we were teaching him tithing, I was so impressed with him because asking for 10% of the money he sends home to Bangladesh is a big sacrifice for him. At the end of the lesson we asked if he had any questions. He asked, "Does this count as tithing?," and he started showing us a bunch of pictures of Christians in Bangladesh who live in grass huts. He explained to us that he financially supports those people. We were shocked. We explained that was not tithing but that it was a great thing that he was doing. He is on board with tithing and all the other commandments. We had a returned missionary serving in the Elders' Quorum Presidency baptize him, because it causes the members to take more accountability in his fellowshipping. During fast and testimony meeting the brother in the ward who baptized B** got teary eyed as he expressed his feelings as he baptized B** because it brought back all of his memories from his mission. If I could do it all over, I would have had a member perform the baptism for every person I taught.

I've decided humans are very lazy creatures. I think I myself still have way too much laziness in me. I want to destroy every lazy bone in my body. It is an enemy to everything that is good in life. We have solid fellowshippers for all of our investigators/RCLA (recent convert/less active) members. I feel bad because some members end up getting used more than others because it is always the same members who are free and the same who are "busy." Translation: Missionary work is important to some people and not important to others. We are working on teaching all the members in our ward the Restoration to kindle some fire and gain their trust as teachers.


Elder Avery

Kota Kinabalu  (April 25, 2016)

Mother's Day  (May 9, 2016)

Elders Lloyd and Avery
Contacting on the train
Flying to Butterworth

Elders Spurrier and Avery - Singapore Mission