Monday, November 25, 2013
Airport Missionary work & My first area is.....?
(excerpts from Elder Hanks' first email from Singapore:)
I have arrived! First I want to tell you of some of the great things that happened BEFORE I even got to my mission!
So we get to the airport & me & my companion, Elder Flynn decide to say a quick prayer & see if we could find anyone to talk to. We saw an older couple sitting next to a gate waiting for their flight, so we decided to talk to them. We struck up a conversation with them & discovered that they were members, so that was a bummer... (for brand new missionaries..!) BUT we told them that we were going to Singapore & they knew a lady that lived there so we got a referral out of it ! So I can't wait to see what happens with that!
After they left, it was time to call my family!!! I loved talking to them! Outside the windows of the airport I could actually see the Bountiful temple that I went to with my family, so I felt like I was that much closer to my family while I was talking to them! We talked for about an hour & 20 minutes, which was great!
After I hung up, my companion was still talking to his family, so I noticed a lady walking around looking for someplace to sit. There were plenty of seats open, so I said a silent prayer that she would end up sitting on the bench of seats that I was on. So I strategically scooted over 2 seats, so I would be close, but no too close... you know what I mean ! And in an answer to my prayer, she sat down just where I wanted her too!
I now I'm thinking how can I start a conversation with her? I see this stuffed monkey key chain on one of her bags so I commented on it & it turns out that it is from a music band that she plays for & they play gigs in like churches! So I ask her more about it & learn that she is from Spain, living in LA & was a Catholic. So we talk about her church & the role it has had in her life (which seemed more cultural than religious) when she asked "So what makes your church different?" I just thought "Oh Man! Thank you Heavenly Father!" So I asked her if she knew about Joseph Smith & the restoration of the Church. She was so fascinated that a 14 yr old boy could know that a church was true & that I could too at 18! So we read Mosiah 10:4-5 & then I asked her if she would be willing to read the Book of Mormon & she said she would & I gave her one! Sweet!! I haven't even left Utah & I have already placed a Book of Mormon!
So we get to LA & call my family to tell them what had happened back in SLC. As I am finishing up my conversation, an airport employee walks up to me & my companion & asks "You believe in Jesus Christ right?" So I say to my mom & dad " Mom, Dad, I gotta go!" So it turns out he saw a companionship of missionaries last week & thought we were the same ones, so that's why he talked to us so straightforward! Haha! Found out he was Christian & had been looking into other churches. He didn't have time to talk, since he was working, & didn't want his boss to see him talking in case he could get fired, so my companion talked briefly about the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ & Joseph Smith . We gave him a Book of Mormon with a pass along card! TWO BOOKS DOWN!
So now we are boarding our flight to Hong Kong & we notice that there is someone sitting in between me & my companion! So we decide that who ever it is, is going to get a real serving of the gospel! Turns out it is a Chinese guy! So using our newly acquired MTC Mandarin Chinese, we end up talking a good amount of time with him! (the flight was like 16 -19 hours long or something!) He brought up an experience of watching a religious TV program & how it sparked a little religious interest in him. It seemed that he was really interested in our Book of Mormon. So since I had a Chinese one with me, I had him read the introduction & he really liked it. He later mentioned that he should give the book back to me but we insisted that he keep it! He was so surprised & so grateful, he took that book off the plane clinging it to his chest!
So there are 3 miracles when the Lord helped & answered our prayers!
So I have been assigned to serve my first area in the country of Malaysia, so I am writing you from SIBU MALAYSIA! Look it up on Google Maps !
Yesterday in church I was introduced to the 39 people who were attending that day! It was kind scary for me to see so few people there! Take the first 2 rows of probably churches in UT and get rid of all the other rows of people - thats what it looked like to me! We have a good amount of members- just not active!
There was a guy there that was new, no one had ever seen him before- he was just walking past the church & thought he should come in! We invited him & he stayed for gospel principles & priesthood ! We set up an appointment to see him on Thurs.
In the MTC they stress the importance of members & so I hope we can find a bank of strong members to work with, but it looks like that is our focus- to reactivate the less active! My companion said that this branch really depends on the missionaries to keep things going!
This mission is going to be hard, but I am grateful for all your support! I would LOVE to hear from you!
WRITE ME LETTERS!