Monday, July 28, 2014

Best week !

BAPTISM!!! We had a beautiful baptism this past weekend of our neighbor across the street and I've never seen someone so happy to come out of the waters of baptism before!  I was blessed to baptize her and she came out of the water, everything was so great, but when she gave her testimony after she was baptized-  it shook my body and filled my heart with the Spirit so much!  She is going to be a fantastic member of this church. It was probably my most spiritual experience I have had on my mission so far. 

We have other investigators progressing towards baptism as well and there are several potential investigators that we have met with or they have come to church and they have told their friends, our members, that they want to be baptized! They want it and we haven't even taught them yet! How cool is that! We are hoping to ask them about it this week and begin teaching them!!!! Sitiawan is so much fun!

However, we are soon going to be having a big loss here, Elder Loke is finishing his mission this week. He will be leaving Sitiawan on Friday and going home to Ipoh. (Elder Loke is native to East Malaysia, so Ipoh is only about 1 -  1  1/2 hours away)  I don't know what's going to happen to me or to Sitiawan, but we are anticipating our Mission President to call us anytime soon and let us know what is actually going to happen, so next week I'll let you all know! We'll have a party with the members this week for him. 

This past week we went to Pangkor Island for the last time and there we found some moto helmets. We thought it would be fun to try and be like the Armies of Helaman as best as we can, but we got "locked up" later for playing around. :) 


There was also a very cool, and large Buddhist temple we went to that is like the temple of Pangkor Island. It was huge with statues, ponds, bridges, and just a whole bunch of things, it was just so cool. 

We had a missionary workshop in church Yesterday and it mainly focused on members and thier purpose in helping hasten the work. I have never seen the branch so excited about helping us. We had everyone write down some names they could refer to us and they all wrote down many names and are going to give them to us this week. We are excited about that!

This week has just been a spiritual week and now Elder Loke is leaving; super sad but also really excited about by next companion, Elder _____

Love you all!!! Elder Hanks

Monday, July 21, 2014

Great week with a Presidential visit!

I have felt really good about our area this past week and we have pulled off very high numbers for our area. It was a really good thing too because right now the mission is about to lose a lot of Chinese Elders going home off their missions and we are going to be short. So we may be having an area or two closing for a little while until we get a boost in Chinese Elders. Elder Loke is going home next week so we are pushing for a hard-working, hard-working out, week full of playing, working, singing, praying, preaching, and laughing! 

We had our wonderful President, President Mains, come to Sitiawan and pay us a visit. We were so happy to have them over and visit with them. They really are such wonderful people that really care about you. It was so great having them here & being able to show them how hard we have been working in this area. We went out to lunch with them and our  wonderful Sister Chris Liew.  Sis. Chris is sooooo awesome in taking care of all of us missionaries!

So my companion, Elder Loke, is a very spontaneous person and one day we had time to go contacting, but not knowing where to go. Elder Loke took out a pen and his hand, then we took turns saying "Right" or "Left" and wrote it on his hand. We then followed the directions on his hand until we finally ended up in the middle of a forest type place utterly lost. Oh well, it was fun so we took pictures and Elder Loke was a little upset for a minute, just a minute.

Yesterday Indonesia was burning stuff like crazy so Malaysia is just poluted with smoke and gunk, a member gave us masks to wear so we wouldn't die, but we just looked like scary people as we rode our bikes. Thanks to an awesome member who rocked the glasses and such with me while we were on splits! 

We also had a youth activity yesterday that was so much fun and Elder Loke was a party and a half.

The Spirit has been felt so strong as we have been making the Branch grow in faith and we are starting to feel it's love and also it's need. We are going to try starting home teaching this week for the branch and get things going! Wish us luck!  The Branch is great but still has a lot to improve on, but don't worry, with faith like theirs, anything is possible to achieve! We also have a baptism scheduled for this Saturday! 

Love you all and I'm 10 months out! (Double digits)

Elder Hanks

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mid transfer transfer & the Influence of the Spirit

Last Monday, right after emailing you people, we headed out for out Zone Meeting in Penang that was to be taking place the next day. It takes a while to travel to our Zone Meeting so we left a day early. The bus ride there was crazy and my companions and I thought we were going to die on this tiny road an Indian guy decided to speed through, so we said a prayer to live AND our prayer was answered!  :) But, on the bus ride there we received a phone call from our Mission President and as soon as he called I knew something was up. He talked with my 1st companion, Elder Kong, for some time and then talked to my 2nd companion, Elder Loke. At the end of the phone call Elder Kong turns to me just surprised and says" I'm leaving Sitiawan."

What happened was that there was a new elder who needed to be trained by Elder Loke, but passport problems came up so he was not able. Elder Loke came to Sitiawan and then the new missionary's passport 'worked' so our President Sent Elder Kong instead to train. So after the Zone meeting on Tuesday, Elder Kong left Wednesday morning and is gone, just gone that fast. My new and third companion here in Sitiawan is Elder Loke,  who who goes home in two weeks. He is just so much fun and I love him! He his such a bro and wants to play a lot. His teaching skills are amazing and I admire his teaching skills. We are having so much fun together as we have gone to Pangkor Island's beaches, and just have had so much fun!!!!  Because he leaves in 2 weeks, before the next official transfer, I'm not sure what will happen with me for the remaining couple of weeks until transfer! Crazy! 

We were teaching our neighbor who is on date for baptism,  about the Restoration again and helping her understand everything for her upcoming baptism. It was a great short lesson and at the end we asked her to pray for us. She was shy at first but then prayed for us giving a wonderful prayer asking Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true. I felt the Spirit very strongly and I was impressed to ask her what she thought of her prayer. She said she didn't feel anything amazing, but she felt like someone was listening to her prayer. My heart burned and I was so happy. I asked her who she thought was listening and when she said, "Heavenly Father" it was really powerful and she knows the Book of Mormon is true.

Another great spiritual experience happened Yesterday. A young man in the Branch didn't come to church today so we decided to visit him last minute. His friend is currently investigating the church so I really wanted him to be more active to help influence his friend. We went over and started talking to him about his friend and you could start to feel the Spirit enter the room. We continued to talk to him and we invited him to help us really get his friend progressing more. The only problem is the investigator's father is opposed a little bit. So we came to the conclusion to all pray, there was about 5 of us there, and ask the Lord for our Investigator's father's heart to be softened. So all five of us knelt in prayer and the young man said a prayer for us to ask our Father in Heaven to soften his friend's father's heart. The Spirit was so strong as he said this prayer and I was just overwhelmed. It was so powerful. 

This week has been good and hope this next one will be better.
Love you all,
Elder Hanks

Monday, July 7, 2014

it's Durian Season!

I received a call from our Mission President with the news that we would be having a new elder joining us in Sitiawan for the purpose of helping my current companion Elder Kong build up the Iban/Malay-speaking group. I received that call on Tuesday and on Thursday Elder Loke showed up at the bus station and we started my first tri-companionship here in Sitiawan. Elder Kong is really happy about having him here so we are all getting along really well and Elder Loke is such a great elder. Both he and Elder Kong will have completed their mission by the end of this transfer and will be heading home. They are both so awesome!!!

In Malaysia there is a fruit called the Durian or in other words, the King of Fruit. It only comes about two or three times a year and when it does it is so popular!!!!! The only thing is that is smells so BAD!!!!! It has a sweet bitter smell that makes it stink and the smell is really strong. There are signs all over in many buildings that say No Durian. The reason is because the smell is really strong and can fill up the entire room, building or store. Despite the foul/weird smell it has, it's actually really good. It's something that I probably wouldn't prefer to eat everyday as many Malaysians would, but it's pretty good and very few missionaries actually like to eat it. All the natives love to give the missionaries durian to eat to see if they will like it. Luckily I like it.
So this week was the 4th of July that we all love to celebrate. The way I celebrated it was with a lesson with our Jehovah's witness and a huge burger to eat. Our branch has an American couple who moved here this April and the husband is a convert to the church.  We invited him to sit in with us for the lesson and he agreed. As we were beginning our discussion with the Jehovah's Witness, our member began to talk with our investigator and for the next hour and a half they Bible Bashed, our investigator scrambling for scriptures and our member calling upon the spirit of heaven to come down! Haha - it was pretty fun.  At one point our member bore his solid witness of the Savior Jesus Christ and the power of the Book of Mormon and my companions and I were just floored by the power and truth this man held. I was so filled with the Spirit and with fire that I didn't care whether or not our investigator accepted the testimony or not, I did! Awesome guy! Which by the way the investigator is oblivious to the Spirit so our member's testimony went right over his head...oh well.

Some good news about the work is that we have gotten two of our investigators on date for baptism!! One for the end of this month and the other at the beginning of the next month. I am excited for them and I am also excited to see an increase in our church attendance grow. We have been able to find some new investigators from our last month's youth activity and we are looking forward to this month's activity to see if we can find some more!!! Things are looking really good for Sitiawan and I'm happy & excited to be its district leader, a district leader of 3! 

Love you all and here's some pics of us and some members hiking this morning-  all rocking the same t-shirt. Milk Builds Muscle.

Love you all,
Elder Hanks