Monday, February 17, 2014

1st email: Spider and stolen bike helmets! 2nd email- Finished my training & transfers are coming !

Feb 10th email: 
Chinese New Year has begun to die down, but I feel like it is building up for the last day of Chinese New Year; the 15th. Just like the first day of Chinese New Year with all the fireworks and firecrackers firing off, I feel like the last day of Chinese New Year will be another night with little sleep. some of these picture cannot quite capture the brilliance of that first day of Chinese New Year, but I am dead serious when I say that fireworks and firecrackers were being fired off at every house, except ours. 

Some fun things that happened this week, one morning as Elder Earl and I were getting ready to head out, Elder Earl was sitting on the couch next to me when he just started making a weird screaming sound. I though Elder Earl was being his funny-self when he said, "Spider!" I thought, "Oh brother, just smash it." I stood up and told Elder Earl to smash it when I got behind the couch to see a spider a little smaller than my hand sitting behind the couch. I realized we would need more assistance with handling the situation. Calling on other elders' assistance, we took on the task of getting the spider, but this spider was trained. We grabbed an empty container to trap it in, when, with great speed, the spider ran under the couch. We would not let him escape. We moved the couch and it would charge at us, then right before it got to us would turn back and get back under the couch we moved. For the next ten minutes of moving the couch back and forth and the spider charging then retreating, we slammed the container over the spider trapping it and sealing the container, disposed of it. It was pretty fun.
Looking for the giant spider!
check out the size of the bugs over here! 

One other event that happened, Yesterday, as we were getting ready to leave the Church and head home, a really nice BMW drove into the church. By the way, people who drive cars like that are RICH. This car drove around the church once, and our District President was a little uneasy. The car drove around the church again, and when I tried to look into the window to see who it was, all I saw was two people in the car with some sort of hat on. It was really weird shaped. Seeing them drive around again, the District President exclaimed, "your bikes! are they stealing your bikes?" the BMW drove out of the parking lot and away while we when to look to see if our bikes were okay. We had locked the bikes up so they were okay, but our helmets were gone...they stole our helmets. That doesn't really make sense, because if you are driving a BMW there is no way that you need or would even want to steal bike helmets. We went upstairs and watched some of the security cameras of them driving away. Couldn't really get information to track them down, but our night guard was determined to do something. So as he's working on that, I'm just kind of grateful that nothing really bad was stolen. So we got to buy some new helmets. fun stuff. 
looking at security images of our helmets getting stolen 

So, the investigator we had on date for this Saturday has been changed to another date, the 8th of March. They didn't come to church last week and we figured that if they just missed once for Chinese New Year and they come next week and so on, they could still be baptized the 15th of February. But, after telling us that they would come this Sunday, they did not come. We felt prompted to go over to their house and tell them that we could not baptize them this Saturday. It was really hard telling them that their date has been changed and they looked devastated, but I think the Spirit was with them and we explained to them that this is for the best. So they are now looking forward to the 8th of March and they hope that I will baptize them. We have transfers between now and then, so unless I get transferred, I will hopefully have my first baptism next month.

One other cool experience that I want to share is pretty cool. Several weeks ago, a member brought her friend to church. Her friend, a non-member really liked church especially primary for her kids, but for some reason never came back. For a week or so after her first coming to church, we couldn't find her or call her, we didn't have her number. When we just happened to run into her and the mall with her husband. We talked and was able to get her number. Several weeks later, and after many attempts to meet with her, we called her this past week and she said she was going to that member's home in whom she was friends with. I asked if it was ok if we came and she was okay with it; called the member and got a time to be there. That day, I went on exchanges with Elder Sessions, a Malay Elder. We went over and shared a message about the Book of Mormon and the blessings of the Gospel on families. We felt the Spirit very strong that morning and gave her a Book of Mormon to read. This past Sunday was testimony meeting for our branch. The member whom we were with when we taught bore her testimony and expressed her gratitude for the opportunity she had to be with us when we taught her friend. She than, after the meeting, told the senior missionaries she wanted to bring her friend over to her house every Saturday morning and have a lesson with us. I am so excited to teach this sister. She has such a wonderful Spirit and I can see her having great blessings from the gospel.

Well, that was a long email and if you read it all, great! If you didn't, I understand. But I hope you just know that I'm grateful to be on a mission here in Sibu, and miracles really do happen.

Love you all!!! 
Elder Hanks

Feb 17th email :

Finishing up training last week was rewarding in it's fullest. I really enjoyed training with Elder Earl, but with that extra hour of studying taken away, now we have so much more time to go proselyting and I'm loving it!!!
Chinese New Year has ended, but because of the rich abundance of food, we still eat. Also, with Chinese New Year being over, when we call to set up appointments, people now know that we are not just coming over to 'gong xi fa cai' but to actually teach a lesson.

One of the great lessons we had this week is of a Less Active and a potential investigator. We went with a member to visit and talk with this less active who lives right next door to a investigator we have. The investigator's wife was with this less active and we had a long talk getting to know one another. When we began discussing the Book of Mormon, the potential investigator was very interested with it. What typically happens when we turn to a scripture and share it is the individual will read it and then listen, but not this lady. This sister would read the scripture we wanted to share and then continue to read it and ask questions. They were great questions and before we could even answer the less active began answering her questions and they had a little 'Book of Mormon discussion." I was way impressed and we are hoping to help the less active come back to church and be the fellowshipper for this sister to help her and her family come closer to Christ.

Valentine's was this past week and I was able to go on splits to a wedding!!! I went on splits with Elder Wilson, a cool Malay-speaking elder, and we arrived at an apartment complex where the wedding was happening. We walked into their little apartment and there we ate food before the ceremony. The bride and groom walked in and sat down joining the circle of people. I don't speak Malay so I didn't understand what was being said as they talked and spoke with each other. They asked for our senior missionary, Elder Beus, to say a special prayer blessing them and their marriage. After the prayer, the Ibon branch president began speaking to the couple about marriage and other things. Before long, and after a lot of advice given, apparently they were married; and I didn't even know it...grrr... But it was great to see a young couple get married and advice was given on eventually going to the temple and being sealed. So cool.

On another split with Elder Scott, we stayed in my area and had a wide variety of food which included the delicacies of deer to the weirdness of carrot milk. One of the potential investigators we met with that day whom we have been meeting with for a while, finally accepted us teaching him about the gospel and we have an appointment with him tomorrow! So excited! If he were to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, because he is Buddhist, he would be a strong member, I believe. 

We have been working hard this week to try and meet with as many people as we can, especially with training being done and our having an extra hour of proselyting. And I was able to see some of the fruits of our labors. Yesterday, for sacrament meeting, we had 48 people attend sacrament meeting, which is the highest attendance we have ever had being here in Sibu. It was great to see, but it was also sad to see more than 50% of them leave right after sacrament meeting. We'll have to work on that. ;)

This week may be the last week of Elder Earl and I being here together in Sibu. Transfers are this week and we are sure that one of us will be leaving. It's sad too, we now have two investigators on date for next month, less actives we are excited to work with, and many new investigators to help come closer to Christ. I love Elder Earl and I was so happy to be his trainee and him being my first companion. I'm always going to miss him and I will be sure to stay in contact with him throughout the mission. He is such a great guy and I'm even more grateful I was able to meet his parents in New York this past summer at the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Now that our companionship is coming to an end, I'm really nervous on whether or not I will be staying and taking over an area, or moving areas and starting new in a new area. Really nervous but excited! Love you all and Happy Valentine's day! 

With this Holiday of love, I just want to emphasize and bear testimony that the Savior Jesus Christ knows and loves each and every one of us. I have been blessed this past week of feeling that love abundantly in the work. I'm grateful to have served here in Sibu and we will see where the Lord wants me to serve next.

Elder Hanks

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