Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Conference is the BEST!

General Conference was the best!!!! We watched it on Saturday and Sunday and the Spirit was filling my soul, even though only a few people actually showed up to watch. I learned so much from all the wonderful talks given and I can't wait until next Sunday where our Branch will come to watch the Priesthood Session together! Two more wonderful hours of the spirit to look forward to!!! So on Saturday, we didn't have a lot of people come to watch, only like five people to the english, two or three to the Chinese, and none to the Malay; the Ibon members had some problems and had to go away to Ipoh for the weekend so they will come and watch it next week. On Sunday, our Branch all showed up to watch the morning Session and they seemed to enjoy it ( ._ .) and it was a good first Session. We had our family history director from Ipoh visiting us at that time and she taught us A LOT about family history regardless of how experienced we were in family history. yep.  When the Sunday afternoon session started, people slowly started to leave until there were only a few left in the building. This picture of my companion and I, that's where everyone who speaks English goes to watch conference. It's okay though, because as you can tell we are excited to be there!

After going about doing other things after conference had ended, we had english class later in the evening. We got started and had in attendance, 2 members, 3 little kids, and a new person who was a friend of one of the members. We got started and I took the lead in teaching the kids English while Elder Lee taught the new kid. It was fun teaching them because we practiced reading out of the Hymn book on the song, "I Am a Child of God." they seemed to really like it and as we continued to read, I listened over to Elder Lee and heard him start to talk about the gospel to this new student. My only thoughts were of a little prayer, "Go Elder Lee!" and asking for the Spirit to touch this new kids heart. I continued to work with the kids and we had a lot of fun. I gave them a 'homework' assignment to borrow the hymn book and review the words to the song so that next week we can sing it. They all looked pretty excited about it and said they would come back. As I was wrapping up the lesson with them, I listened again to Elder Lee and this new boy talk. The boy had an interesting look on his face as he continued to listen to Elder Lee talk and invite him to keep coming to learn English and the gospel, he seemed almost like he wanted to say something. The next chance he had to speak, he said, "Actually, I wanted to just come and see how it was just for today." My heart sunk to his words, but I kept listening as he then said, "But I think I want to keep coming now every week. I really like this." My heart did a 180 and turned into joy. We finished English class with 3 happy kids studying a hymn and a new investigator for next week. Awesome.

But this day doesn't stop there. We had planned earlier in the week to plan and teach a lesson to a member family whose oldest daughter is leaving this week into the mission heading to Boston, Massachusetts. We wanted to give her a 'missionary experience' before she got to the MTC. We had planned on talking about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and the blessings it brings. We started out sharing 2 Nephi 31:20 and as we kind of expected from this family, some jokes were tossed around and they didn't really focus on the Spirit that was trying to come into the room. But we kept trying to focus and we directed them to the Spirit that comes from having a missionary in the home and more importantly, the blessings and knowledge that come from the Book of Mormon. The Spirit began to enter the room and I felt impressed to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I spoke about how they will soon have a missionary in their family and the diligent work she will be doing in studying the words of the Lord everyday. I spoke about how much I love it when I get an email or a letter from a friend or family member in which they share some of the things that they have been studying in the Book of Mormon, because they teach and share with me what they have learned. At this moment, the thought of my two wonderful younger brothers, Hunter and Max, came into my mind and a silent prayer entered my heart of, "I hope they are reading the Book of Mormon daily." As I thought about them and how much they mean to me, the gosh dang tears came to my eyes and started to blind me. I couldn't really see what was going on in front of me or what everyone was doing, but I kept going and finished with a smile on my face expressing the love I have for the Book of Mormon. 
I wiped the tears from my eyes to see the father of the home, who is usually cracking a joke and always smiling, with a face of tenderness and spiritual peace. I didn't think I would ever see the look that he had on his face, but he looked like the Spirit was in his heart and was intune with its promptings. We invited the parents to begin to read the Book of Mormon together everyday and we are hoping to go back on Wednesday and see how they are doing. They have a great family and I love them all very much! 

One other last story I want to share. We were contacting around an area we have never been before and stopped at a little drink booth to get some drinks to cool off. We started talking with the girl behind the table when an elderly man walked behind her to get around the booth when he looked up and saw my companion and I standing there. He looked a little taken aback and said, "Are you the Mormons?" We paused and I said with a little boldness in my voice, "Yes sir we are." He man then exclaimed, "I don't believe in Mormonism." I only said then asked, "I'm sorry. What have you heard about us? Anything good or bad?" He then said, "I don't believe in Mormonism because you believe in two Gods. I believe in Jesus Christ and God." He then turned to walk away as I cried out, "Sir, we also believe in Jesus Christ and God. We only believe in one God and I don't know who told you that about our church but that is false." He looked a little surprised at what I said, but then exercising the Malaysian stubbornness that is so abundant here, he just turned to walk away and didn't bother to look back. 
This experience really saddens me because people here really don't understand who we are or what we really believe in. They don't know the truth when it is placed before them. I look back on that experience and with the teachings given my M. Russell Ballard in this past General Conference, I now know that, although I wasn't necessarily wrong in admitting we were mormons, it would have been better to declare ourselves as the formal and right name given to us by our Savior himself, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Althought this is a sad experience that shows how little people understand here, I am grateful to get an idea of what we need to do to help people understand. 

I am learning a lot everyday and with this recent General Conference I am excited to use what I have learned until in six months we will all receive further counsel. Love you all! 
Elder Hanks

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