Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fruit and Labor - 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 been increasing my faith by studying obedience. I realized one of my character weaknesses is that I have a habit of putting sacrifice before obedience. It is always a temptation for me. Settling for sacrifice instead of obedience is settling for terrestrial blessings rather than celestial blessings. Elder Spurrier reminded me the other day that the only person you can save is yourself (obviously you can't save yourself, you need Jesus Christ but you get what I'm saying). Other people we try to help have agency and sometimes reject us, but our agency is under our control and at the end of the day if you bring no one else to the Celestial Kingdom you better bring yourself.

Miracle of the week:
While I was in Butterworth on exchanges this week, we were talking to everyone while we were biking to our appointments. While we were on one of the main roads, I was waving to the cars as they were going past me. One of the cars pulled over. When I started talking to the man in the car he said, "Hey! I know you! I talked to you in Puchong!" It blew my mind. Here I was in little old Butterworth and someone I talked to months ago in Kuala Lumpur remembered me! That was the second week in a row that I met someone I had talked to months before. I don't remember these people (partly because I talk to hundreds of people a week, and partly because I am not good with names and faces) until they remind me. They still remember me and what I shared with them. I have had a couple times that I was a little sad on my mission because I knew I was working really hard, being obedient, and talking to everyone, but wasn't seeing the success I was expecting. God has been showing me a lot that those efforts did not go to waste. That man in Butterworth said he will give the Butterworth elders a shot. So we will see :)

Our members are really doing great. One of our recent converts is from Bangladesh. His name is Bi**. Yesterday he told us that his employer is going against his contract and told Bi** that he has to work 14+ hr days with no days off. Bi** had tried asking for work off on Sunday, but his boss said that if he asked for Sunday off he would send him home. Last night we were teaching him with the fellowshippers we have assigned him. It was a pretty emotional lesson. Bi** was crying for a lot of it because church is the best thing about his life right now. The fellowshippers that we assigned ended up being exactly what he needed.  One of them is an American who has friends who deal with cases like this for foreign workers, and the other one is a Filipino returned missionary. Another one of Bi**'s fears was that his family isn't learning about the gospel, but the Filipino returned missionary was companions with the first missionary from Bangladesh. The members and Branch President there do all of the missionary work there because there are no missionaries there, so he is going to send Bi**'s parent's address to his former companion! That is the power of member missionary work! We would have been powerless in that situation, but the members gave Bi** what he needed.

Elder Avery

Three Baptisms  (June 5, 2016)

Photos of an Amazing Week  (June 19, 2016)