Monday, August 25, 2014

A week of work and miracles!

This week we have gotten down and in the dirt here in Sitiawan. I can honestly say that we are making a difference here and being obedient. The Lord has seen our efforts and is definitely allowing us to see his hand in our work here in Sitiawan!
Also, it's the start of rainy- monsoon season so it has POURED rain just about every day for more than 3 hours each. The day where I saw the miracles come the most this week,  was a day completely covered with rain and thunder showers. I didn't even see the sun that day and we were just so wet. But it's okay as long as this important work continues to go forth rain or shine!

Elder Roundy & Elder Hanks

We had our Zone Meeting at the beginning of this week where we received training on our areas and specifically our mission vision. We have a goal as a mission to get so many baptisms this year.  It's August and we are beginning to feel the pressure to get this goal done! It 's not about the numbers, but how people and countries can change with the influence of the gospel & its members. IT"S ABOUT THE PEOPLE and how the gospel and Christ can help them.  Our Zone Leaders emphasized our key indicators for our investigators and their importance to get to baptism. So  we left Zone Meeting Tuesday with a good strong feeling that we are going to do good, work hard & accomplish our goals. We had a meeting with the Branch President to coordinate our efforts and we went to work, what happened was that miracles followed!
Zone Meeting & Sis. Chris! 

We have been applying the principle in Preach My Gospel to talk to EVERYONE and what a difference it has made. We have contacted so many people this week and ran into old investigators that we feel like we have too much to do this week we don't even know how to plan. It's like trying to pack everything in your house into only seven boxes, what goes first and where do you put it? But it's an exciting feeling for us and we are looking forward to the progression of the gospel in these people. 

We have just started teaching this investigator last week and we taught her this week about the Plan of Salvation. As we were talking about Christ's atonement and His Resurrection, the promise of resurrection and eternal families given to everyone, I asked her if she has had anyone in her family or close friends recently pass away. She looked at her friend who is our member present, looked back to us and said quietly, "My Grandfather." who just passed away two weeks earlier. The Spirit came into the room and we felt impressed to give her the invitation to be baptized in September, she accepted. Whoo!!! Miracle there. 

This next miracle happened right after the miracle I just talked about but here is a little background. 
We met this girl at a church activity about two months ago and got her phone number. We tried to meet up with her and she tried to come to church but it didn't really work out and she only came to church like once. So this past week I just had a feeling to start texting her to try and meet with her. So I did and set up a meeting at the church right after our appointment with the girl I just mentioned above who is now on date to be baptized.
 So as soon as that appointment ended we biked hard and fast through the rain to get to the church where this potential girl was waiting for us. We got there and together we went inside. Some of our members were inside the church cleaning the building getting ready for church the next day. We walked in and sat down in the chapel where this girl just began to pour out her heart to us and talk to us about all of her trials in her life. We were so touched that in our first real meeting with her she was so open. We cried together, talked together, laughed together and ultimately she said that she really liked this church and how everyone treats each other as family. My heart started to pound right before I heard her start to say, "I really want to be part of this church." I then leaned closer to her and asked, "Baptism?" like wondering if that is what she was suggesting. She then nodded her head and said, "Baptism." We were on cloud 9 as we rode to our next appointment! This is one prepared investigator. But it doesn't stop there.
After we got home an hour later or so we received a text from her saying how grateful she was that we were there to help and listen to her talk and then she said, "I am ready to be baptized I can't wait." We are meeting with her tomorrow and are going to put her on date for two weeks from today. She already knows a lot and now we just need to see if she is ready and knows the basics for baptism. We are so happy right now! The Lord is truly in this work and is ready to pour out the blessings and miracles! 

I am so grateful that I get to train. My Companion Elder Roundy is just so awesome and I feel like the training is for me to help me remember some of the basic things that I have forgotten. Just like everything in the church, it is good to have repetition in what we teach & to always review the basics. Elder Roundy is so awesome and I'm so happy to be his companion here. He's always trying his best to speak chinese, to share his testimony, and talk to anyone he sees. He's so great!  
We are loving Sitiawan here and we will continue to work to the end. Love you all and am so happy to hear about all of these updates and news coming from you all.
This work really is the work of God and I'm just so humble to be a part of it.
This really is true!
Elder Hanks

Monday, August 18, 2014

And the Trainee is......!

A week ago today I received the news that I would be training this next transfer and I was so excited!  The trip to Singapore was nerve-racking and sad; saying good-bye to my previous companion, Elder Tan. I really love Elder Tan and it's so wonderful to see,  that despite the few short days that we spent together serving the Lord & working together, it's still possible to grow to love them and I love Elder Tan so much.
with Ekder Tan
So I got to Singapore and hung out for the first day with other missionaries and did some good contacting giving out many name cards. When coming back to the church I saw all the new missionaries standing around all looking like they all did not know what they are doing, and one of them is my son. (son refers to the brand new incoming missionary getting trained by someone "older" in the mission) 

The next day seemed to drag on in the training as President and Sister Mains talked to the new missionaries about our mission and our expectations. Finally the moment arrived for the slideshow of missionaries to see who they are training and my son is......

waiting around in Singapore for a new companion!


Elder Roundy is totally a boss and I love him already. He's from Bountiful, Utah, went to Bountiful High and is just so happy to be here. I'm grateful for his attitude because here in Sitiawan we work hard and we hit the ground running. We are running fast this week in the work and we have a lot to get done in these next few weeks. I love Elder Roundy so much although I feel a little bit bad because it's only his 4th day in the field and we went hiking this morning, only later to find that he had a leech on his leg sucking a good amount of blood. He's okay but I felt bad that he's already getting REALLY down and dirty in Sitiawan. It'll be fun! he's got a great attitude!!!

A miracle that happened Yesterday was that we were going contacting around a certain area when we decided to go home and prepare for a later appointment. On the way home I saw these two kids that were kinda young, a brother and a sister, riding bikes home alone. I asked them where they were going-home-and then asked if I could help them home safely. The younger girl was really friendly and said, "Yes!" So my companion, me  and a member followed them home and when we arrived at the home the member turned to us and said, "I know this place! This is a member's home!!!" I was shocked. "What? This is a member's home?" The member looked at me and said, "Yeah." 
The miracle is that I had never been to this home or met these people and here they are! Members in Sitiawan that I don't even know. We invited them to FHE tonight and we are so excited that they are coming!!!
We have been finding a lot of people and trying to get Sitiawan in PRIME shape as it has a lot of 'dents' and 'cracks' but we'll smooth out the rough edges! ;) 
I'm glad to be training right now and with a new excitement in Sitiawan we are focusing on  more activities to get people involved and wanting to come to church more often. 
This is my weekly report and I love you all!!!!
More next time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Transfers & Training.....! YEA!

As you know Elder Tan arrived this past week to help me continue the work here in Sitiawan, we had transfer news come in today and unfortunately my fantastic 4th companion in Sitiawan and companion of 13 days - is already leaving! So fast!!!! But instead of just receiving a new companion like usual I have the blessing of training a new missionary! I am so excited for the opportunity to train a new missionary. Any one have any advice?

This past week was a week full of work and we got a great new investigator this past week!  We had an activity a long time ago that she came to and had a lot of fun at. Ever since, she has been coming to church every week with her friend who is a member. Initially I wanted to just ask her if we could start teaching her right away but I felt impressed to wait and give her time. Last Sunday she and her member-friend came up and just said, "Elder Hanks can you teach me/her the gospel?" "YES!!!" We had a great first lesson with her! She's looking awesome to progress in the gospel  and we hope to get her ready to be baptized by September most likely. Whoo!!!

Another cool miracle is that we felt impressed to go to the nearby gym one day. We did so and started to work out when there were these two kids that I thought we knew. A member was there with us and turns out he is friends with these kids. We started talking to them and told them who we were. Before I knew it the two kids were like, "We want to come to your church." YES!!!"  So were happy to see them show up for sacrament meeting the next Sunday. Cool miracle!

Not that much happened this week because of the normal things happening that we just love to be a part of. I have really felt the need for  boldness growing in me - to just do things and not stop. I can honestly say with my past 6 months here in Sitiawan, the Lord has definitely been preparing me to become a trainer. I have never felt more ready to train than ever before and I hope that we can make a difference in Sitiawan while I'm still here. I will probably be leaving Sitiawan next transfer but I'll be sure to make the most of the time we have here. 

I'm sorry, I forgot my camera at home so I'll have twice as many pictures to send next week. Love you all!

Elder Hanks

PS I'll be hitting my year mark this transfer so that will be super exciting! Time flies by so fast!!!!
Half way over!  CRAZY!! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Crazy Companion Week!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are Sitiawan's missionaires! and we know you just have one question... "Who is Elder Hanks's companion?"

We were waiting for our mission president's call last Monday and we were looking forward to it all day...but it never came. We waited Tuesday... it never came. Elder Loke knew he would be leaving on Friday morning and we started to get nervous. Wednesday came and still no call so I finally texted the AP's and was like "WHAT'S GOING ON?" They quickly called me and explained that my new companion would be coming on Friday in the afternoon.

The answer is....
Who is Elder Tan? Elder Tan is awesome!!! 

He is from Penang, another area in my zone so that means I have another companion from Malaysia and is actually serving near his home. He has been serving for a little over a year; a year and two months and I have to say he is my CHINESE TWIN! He is kind of skinny, like me, and although he is 21 years old he has a lot of the same personalities and likes. He is super easy to get along with and will help me out a lot here in Sitiawan. The only thing is that it's very rare for native missionaries to serve in their home districts so we are thinking that his stay in Sitiawan will only be temporary.  WE DON'T KNOW what will happen next week when real transfers happen....!  Ahhhhh! 

(last couple of pictures with Elder Loke) 
With Elder Loke leaving this past week there was a lot to do and a lot to celebrate. The branch threw him a good-bye party and it was a great party ! We had a lot of people and families come! It is also a great event to have investigators and less actives come.
So Elder Loke left on Friday and was so happy so see his family. I waited a few hours and then my new companion, Elder Tan, pulled up to the house looking ready to go. I had actually seen Elder Tan before in Singapore one time and was so excited to see him again as my new companion. It will be fun with him!
Elder Tan!

One of my goals before I leave Sitiawan will be to get home teaching started and going. It's a goal of mine before transfers come and possibly change things up next week. I know I keep saying that but it's going to happen! It's going to be crazy!!!!! 
I love being called to serve Him. It's the best!!!
Elder Hanks