Monday, April 28, 2014

District Conference= Hastening the work, even with some local monkeys

April 26 2014 letter

We had our district conference this past week in Ipoh. I love going to Ipoh. The members there are awesome!!! I went on exchanges with the elders there and met some of the members and I just want to let you all know that the faith here of the members is tremendous!!! I can't believe the faith that they have, it makes me consider and think about my own faith and how I can match theirs. They are always so happy to be a member of this true church and it's great to see the gospel working in their lives. In Ipoh on Saturday and Sunday, the topic of the conference was Hastening the Work. There is something definitely happening in the world today that requires the work of every available hand to step up and pitch in. We cannot stand idly near by and cheer others on as they indulge in the joy of this work.

Being in Malaysia and seeing the small quantity of members here, it is made clear to me that we need more souls saved now than ever before and the demand for member missionaries is steadily increasing. You do not have to talk to everyone that you meet and share the gospel with them right on the spot like us regular missionaries do everyday. Missionaries are full-time teachers and that is our calling. However, members have a full-time calling as full-time finders. Imagine if every member tried to find one person a week or even a month for the rest of the year? The church would most definitely double by the end of the year. I think it's a great idea that M. Russell Ballard shared this past General Conference, to set a date, prayerfully, and then go about trying to reach that goal; you will reach it. 

Want to hear about some bible bashing? So a while ago we knocked on an Indian man's door and he welcomed us in on the spot and asked us what our message was. We were surprised at this man's directness and very excited about teaching him. This past week we visited him for the third time. This man is a Jehovah's Witness and his intent in meeting with us is to show us the flaws of the church and convert us to his beliefs. We spent an entire hour talking and, not quite, arguing about the scriptures in the Bible. It was hard for me to just bear my testimony because he just wouldn't listen and just interrupt. There are two main points that he is having a hard time accepting to help him understand that Joseph Smith is a prophet; polygamy and our church before having a militia. According to Jesus Christ's words in the New Testament, both the concept of taking multiple wives and taking up arms is a sin and cannot be in the true church of God. It's hard to proove to him that polygamy was once acceptable in our church and no longer is because we believe in revelation from God. It's a little easier to explain the taking up arms. But the bottom line is that he has had a book of Mormon for a while, but just won't read it. He has read many histories and other things from his own church's website, but he won't read the Book of Mormon. He told us to come back to his house next week and show him the relationship between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. So okay, we are going this Friday and we are just going to focus on him reading the Book of Mormon. 
I would like to know about what you all think about these two principles that he has brought up. What do you think? 
I am glad that we are meeting with him though, because he always shares these scriptures with us that he hopes will tear down my faith, but it actually continues to build it up! I love it! 

Our brightest investigator,  A____, is looking good for baptism this next month, May 10th and we are so excited for them.  They passed their interview Yesterday and we will begin the preparations immediately, okay maybe not that fast. but still. This has been a great area to work in with the great Ipoh district and it's fantastic members, and the wonderful Sitiawan branch with it's miracles happening weekly. We are receiving some referrals from investigators and members all around and we are kind of confused on who we should go for because there's so many and it's hard to meet. 

I'll explain some of the pictures from the past two weeks.

M____, the first person I have ever baptized left for Kuching this past week so I will probably never see her again. We went over to her Aunt's place, Sister L____, and had a delicious dinner and shared the importance of enduring to the end. Her younger brother, K____, has given us a referral so we have one more Ibon to teach the gospel to! We are hoping to build the Ibon Kingdom here in Sitiawan! But I gave M____ a picture of her baptism, a CTR ring and wished her good luck because that's about all I can do. She is going to do great though.

Last week, an investigator, A ____, brought us to Pangkor Island, a tropical gettaway in Malaysia. It was a beautiful sight and we have a potential investigator from A____ to start teaching soon. No, I'm not talking about the monkeys we met while we were there although I'm pretty sure the chief  monkey mentioned baptism or something? I don't know, haha -   I'll have to go follow up with their Book of Mormon reading.
On Easter Sunday we had all the youth of the Branch come over to our place and we cooked dinner for them. We had a great time, ate Japanese noodles and cookies. Delicious!

Something I want to mention is that the door on our church is awesome, the key hole is. Whenever I open it I feel like Harry Potter in the first book with that ancient key. Just wanted to show you what I feel like whenever I unlock the Church.

With all these things going on lately, I've realized how COOL the gospel is. No other church, no other gospel, has the absolute astounding things that this gospel has that we can give to others. Just thinking about prophets, priesthood, new scripture, revelations, direct communication with God, a Savior, it's just all so amazing to me. Love it all! 
You are all so amazing and I can feel your prayers. Just know that they are being answered, I know they are.

Elder Hanks

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