Monday, April 7, 2014

25 scoops & I finally got wet

I was really loving this past week for many reasons that included General Conference, my dad and Sister's birthday, one of my best friends birthday, Zone Conference in Singapore, and most of all a baptism! 

With General Conference, because we are ahead of America when it comes to time, we have to wait a week until we can watch it at the church as a Branch. It's going to be a party and they are going to be showing it in Chinese, English and Malay. We have just a few members who only speak Malay and when it was announced that they were only going to have Chinese and English, I later asked why we didn't have Malay. He explained that they didn't have another tv or video player. I thought, "Hey! We have one at our house and these members deserve to hear our prophet speak to them!" So I offered to bring our missionary tv and video player to the church this weekend so the members can come and watch. I learned that Sitiawan before actually had 2 groups! A Malay group and a Chinese group. But after a while, the Malay-speaking people just stopped coming so the Chinese group became a branch and now we only have one branch.

We had our Zone Conference this past week in Singapore and I just want to say that Singapore is amazing! The only thing people usually do in Singapore is shopping, touring, or working; that's really it. But once you stick a big group of missionaries in Singapore, it gets pretty fun! There is an ice cream place near the stake center that has a challenge that if you eat 25 scoops of ice cream in 25 minutes, it's free. Two of our elders, Elder Moala and Elder Mayo took on the challenge. It was a very intense to watch, especially since if you fail, the ice cream is like almost $100! Once the challenge started, we learned that the two Elders didn't have any money on them so we pushed them on. Elder Moala is a huge Samoan elder, so he downed this thing and finished in 21 minutes! So intense to watch! So fun!

The Zone Conference itself was inspiring and it's so strengthening to see so many missionaries all gathered together with the same purpose to bring others closer to Christ and to hear of their ideas that they have coming up with. I love Zone conference! 

We went back on exchanges to visit that Jehovah's witness. I have found out the reason why he let us in so quickly in the first place: to convert us to the 'truth.' Now, this man is a great man who knows a lot about the Bible, but only the Bible. He doesn't believe that there could possibly be anymore than the Bible. Last time we met with him I shared Ephesians 37 about the stick of Joseph and Judah, and this time he had a paper with him he had printed out from his church's website. He read it with us and some of the things he said were true like how God wants us all to be united together, but he failed to answer our questions or even identify what the sticks were. I asked him and he said, "Maybe the Ephesians took two stick and wrote on it and put them together!" It was kind of a mental face-slap. He then went on to say that the Bible is the only word of God and we are all to be united in one faith under it. My Zone leader who was with me at the time asked a wonderful question, "If we are all to be united under the Bible, how come there are so many churches that have risen up that use only the Bible?" This man was stuck and he escaped by saying, "I'll answer that in a minute." He never answered.... But he still wants us to come back again so we are going to go over one more time with love and see if we can get him progressing at all. Jehovah's Witnesses are great.

So, we had been having great success working with the Malay speaking family in our branch. The mother of the house has had her niece over staying with them until the end of April until she goes back to East Malaysia. For the past few weeks we have been visiting them to do recent convert lessons to her son, K. But her niece has always sat in with our lessons and pretty soon we just started teaching her lessons. We had got her on date this last week for April 5th and after all the reviewing we did and practice interviews, Elder Lee asked her who she would like to baptize her and so my shock and awe she picked me!!! Just a side note, I have not spoken that much at all when we taught because I don't speak Malay; I would just say something in English and then my companion would translate for me, so this was a huge surprise to me!!!!! We got all the preparations ready and on April 5th she was baptized by me. The even cooler part of it was I didn't baptize her in English or Chinese, but I looked out of a Indonesian Doctrine and Covenants at the baptismal prayer(side-note: Indonesian and Malay are very similar. People understand both if you can speak one) and to baptize her I read the prayer and did it all in not even my mission language! It was such a cool experience! Seeing her come out of the water and being a part of it was just magnificent!!! The Spirit was so strong and on the 6th of April, she was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I think that is so cool to see that happen!!! I am so blessed that I was able to be a part of that! I would not have had this opportunity without my companion helping in Malay. 
Me and my companion are going to work super hard these next 6 weeks and see if we can get another one!  This really is the true church and the Restored church of Jesus Christ! 

(Hey another Hill Cumorah Work Crew member?!   -  got to find out who this is...) 

There is not much more to report because that was the highlight of my week! Hope you all enjoyed conference as don't spoil it too much for me! Love you all!

Elder Hanks

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