Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nothing like hiking Malaysia!

I already knew that there are no "bad days" on a mission, but I never really learned how to treat all these other wonderful days as great days until now. We had many experiences where anyone could say, today was a bad day and we got nothing done, but it's not like that on a mission. We are always trying to go around "doing good" to those we come into contact with and we are seeing the blessings from it. 

On Saturday we had scheduled a branch activity where we would all meet at the church and go hiking to a local mountain. The theme of the activity was to Come Unto Christ. We had a great turn out of members and investigators to the activity and they all had a really good time!  (and it took an hour to hike up!)  The oldest member who came was in her upper 40's while the youngest person to hike up with us was 2!!! The 2 small kids walked with me the entire way and the girl would hold on to my backpack so I pulled her all the way up. We got to the top and we had some people give talks (we had previously asked them to) and their talks were wonderful. That was followed by a testimony meeting where-  although it wasn't quite the same as a Utah firesides-  it was still great! We then had everyone color these book marks that said Come Unto Christ and they all really liked it. We ate food and just had fun, I also did the ALS bucket challenge that someone challenged me to do. Yep, it's (the challenge)  made it all the way over here! 



The most trying day I had this week was definitely Saturday after the Branch activity when all of our appointments and plans fell through, but Elder Roundy and I kept reminding ourselves that it was okay, as long as we were doing our best to exercise our faith in this work. So although Saturday we didn't get that much done, Sunday was my favorite day of the week.

Our branch president was out of town this week and so we were assigned to cover the 2nd hour class for his wife and to also teach the 3rd hour class. During Sacrament meeting we had our three speakers give their talks, but they were all really short, so by 10:35 they were finished. The Branch's first counselor stood up and not knowing what to do asked me to stand and say a few words. As I began to talk to the branch about the power of testimonies, church, our family, our Savior, basically touching on everything- principles & doctrines,  in an orderly manner that when I finished speaking I had sufficiently used up the rest of the Sacrament hour as the counselor wanted me to do. I hope the branch knows how living these teachings can change their lives!  
Second hour was great as we taught about the creation and what it means to us to have a loving Heavenly Father who gave us a planet for our 'birthday.' That's a loving Father, don't you think?

Third hour was the best though. We had felt impressed to talk to the branch about temples and it's importance but we wanted them not only to know and think it was important, but to actually feel that it was important. So what we did is we cleared the upstairs classroom of the desks and left just the chairs in 2 rows and wrote on the board, "Please be quiet." As we let the members in who were waiting outside, we motioned them to be quiet and they saw the board and quietly walked in and sat down. As everyone came in and sat down quietly even the small kids there were really quiet as the Spirit entered the room. We all sat there for about 10 minutes in silence and we let the Spirit, through the still silence, touch the hearts of the branch there. After the prayer we asked them how they felt during the silence and they all agreed on "Peaceful." We explained that this is what the temple is like and what it does to us spiritually. The members asked great questions about the temple and we think they are thinking about going sometime. It was a really cool experience.

Last cool experience of the day also happened Yesterday. We have been teaching an investigator for a while and have been trying to get him to church but he has never come. So I felt impressed to text him to let us come over. He finally agreed and us 2 elders, with 3 members, all went over and just talked to him. When we first got there he was a little hesitant to let us in but did. Elder Roundy and I felt impressed to first talk about the temple with him, something he has never heard of before, and then be open with how we love him and want to help him. As we talked the Spirit entered the room and you could see his countenance change from being a little hesitant to being open and aware of what we were saying. He began to open up about concerns that he has and then said he was really happy we came over tonight. He then invited us over to his house the next day, today. So we are looking forward to that later this day. 

We are feeling the blessings of the Lord in every aspect of our work and I'm so grateful I have learned how to treat the days he has given me here in the field. 

Love you all and Happy Birthday Hailey!

Sincerely,
 Elder Hanks
Serious badminton happening here!

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