Monday, December 29, 2014

Our awesome Miri "White" Christmas!

The Chinese Winter Festival was last Monday was last week and the Chinese tradition is to cook a glutonose rice. It's like a boiled flour rice thing (don't know how else to describe it..) and it's really good! We tried to boil a big pot full but the water wasn't getting hot enough so we took it off the stove and put it in the oven. That worked but it was too late. The colorful flour mixed together and made a big mush. But the ones that did work were really delicious. I will make it for the family after I get home! Prepare your taste buds now!
                                               (This is what they are supposed to look like) 

Merry Christmas to all! What a great week my companion and I had!  We worked hard and visited many people in order to "Share the Gift" of Christ this year. Christmas day was a miraculous day as we started the day by making some Christmas rounds. I had previously made paper stockings for some of the missionaires in the zone and packed them full of candy and treats. We delivered them before they woke up and gave them a little Christmas surprise. It was a lot of fun for us. Then we opened our presents. Some of the presents I got was some fun little toys, candy, peppermint oreos -  which are so delicious by the way!  and socks (got to have them)!  The coolest thing I got was a large Chinese dragon fan (my secret Santa gift from one of the Sis. missionaries in my zone who had my name- so awesome! ) and a wood sword. So cool!  We later played fruit ninja with them.

But that's not the best part of the day. We have been teaching an investigator for the past couple weeks and all of our teaching has lead up to this day- an awesome  Christmas baptism for this daughter of God. She didn't know it, but she was fulfilling a dream of mine to have a 'White Christmas' with a baptism on Christmas day. It was a miracle and she was confirmed a member of the church yesterday in sacrament meeting. She is the branch's first baptism and confirmation in over a year!  So our members are so happy to have a new member in our branch.

We are looking forward to another baptism next week to start the new year of 2015 strong. We are so excited and he is too. We are hoping to get his wife and daughter to follow soon after.  I am loving my mission here in Miri. I consider it a miracle I was sent here to Miri when I was. There is so much good stuff happening here in our area. However, we are always looking to how we can improve. We are searching for new investigators and people to uplift.

I just want to thank my entire family for all the wonderful Christmas cards and presents I received. I loved them all and I will read and use them often. Also I want to thank the members of Elder Geilman's family who sent him stuff and he shared with me. They were delicious! What a wonderful week we have had and I hope to see more miracles come forth in the next weeks to come. 

Love you all and have a wonderful and prosperous 2015. (The year of the goat/sheep.)

Elder Hanks

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Miri Caroling and adventures at the Zoo!

Dec 21, 2014 
This week has been so much fun as we have been going out and sharing the Christmas Spirit with everyone! We started on Sunday to go out and to carol at our members house and it's no regular caroling like we do in the states. For Malaysian-caroling you need to call and arrange a time in advance in order to go and carol. And then after you sing a song or two you eat and eat!!! So delicious! you then sing another song followed by "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!" And it's off to the next destination! We have done that to many homes this past week and it's so great!

(Thanks Tracy for this great picture!) 

 We even caroled at an investigator's house and he, with his family, loved it. We are looking forward to his baptism which has been moved to January 3rd and another baptism this week on Christmas Day!!! It's going to be the best!! 

Elder Geilman and I taught a great Sunday School lesson about Sharing the Gift and it was so spiritual. The members and investigators loved it and we are hoping to have a great start to the year 2015! I'm loving Miri and the missionaries I get to work with. Miri is just the best! 

Love you all and wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Elder Hanks

Dec. 14, 2014  
As I said in last week's email, we spent our p-day in Singapore and we stayed there until Wednesday for our zone conference. It was a great conference where we talked about working with our stake and ward leaders. We also got to watch the new lds video, "He is the Gift" and the Christmas Devotional by the first presidency. Really good and my companion and I loved being there.

On the first day we were there, as soon as we were done emailing our families, we took a taxi to the Singapore Zoo. It's the world's number 1 zoo for a reason. You are right along the beach to the ocean and the zoo itself feels like you are in a jungle! It's so cool and you often find yourself face to face with a monkey and no fence separating you two. Dead serious. We also got to ride an elephant! it was so cool and they are massive!!!! ours stopped for a little potty break while we were riding it.... so yes, I sat on a pooping elephant. 
One other story I want to say about the zoo was that there was a sea lion show. The hostess needed a volunteer(male) to throw a frisbee to the sea lion. No one would volunteer so I felt bad for the lady, so I volunteered. But I was destined to fail as they had me throw the frisbee from the back of the huge auditorium. Because I failed they had me dance "Gangam Style" in front of 400+ people. They loved it and I'm sure they won't forget missionaries now! ;)

We are working really hard to help 2 of our investigators get ready for there baptisms next week(Christmas week) and we are so excited for them. One of them is the most golden investigators I have ever even heard of!!!! he is so prepared to receive the gospel.

He is a father of 2 girls and has a wife. When we first met him he was drinking and smoking and it was literally killing him. The second or third time we visited him he had yellow-shot eyes suggesting liver complications. We prayed and fasted for him and we had miracles come forth. he quit smoking and drinking before we could tell him to do that and he has brought his family to church ever since he's quit. he is so excited to be baptized and we are going to be teaching him later today! He is my favorite and his faith always just boosts my spirits. 

The year is coming to an end really fast but that doesn't mean that miracles do. We went to a less active members home to carol yesterday and it was so much fun. It's not like America where you just show up on the front door and start singing. In Malaysia, due to everyone having gates you usually have to call or 'set up' a time to come carol at someone's home. You show up and everyone gathers inside to sing some songs and share a message, eat some food, then you leave to the next house. Interesting but still so much fun! 

I am just loving my time here in Miri and I hope to stay here with Elder Geilman one more transfer but we are getting our transfer news today. We will see what happens.

Transfer news just came in and Elder Geilman and I are staying together in Miri until January! We are so excited!!! I'm looking forward to Christmas in Miri!

Love you all and this is Elder Hanks

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A quick email from the city of Singapore!

I'm in Singapore today(Monday and Tues) for zone conference this week!
I'm so excited and it will be full of the spirit I know it!!!!

A miracle I want to share real fast this week was we had our investigator come to church for the 2nd time and it was fast and testimony meeting. After a few people shared their testimony he went up and shared his testimony and it was so powerful!!! He wants to be baptized and we are hoping to add a few before the year is over! Keep praying for us! 

Things are going great and I love my companion. He is the bomb and so awesome!!

Well, I will let you all know more next week but I love this gospel, it's so perfect!!!

Elder Hanks