Monday, January 26, 2015

Transfers & sneaky plans

There is not much to report this week except my companion, Elder Geilman, is leaving and going to my first area - Sibu!!! I am so sad to say good-bye to him- he is such an inspirational guy and a church doctrinal library! He is so incredible and I am confident he will continue to be a successful missionary where ever he goes. I am proud to have served along side with him as his companion and I am anxious to see his future successes as a missionary. 

The work is Miri is slowing down a little bit, but we hope with the Chinese New Year opportunities will be opening up that we can find people to share the gospel with by going into their homes and allowing them to feel the power of the Spirit. I'm very excited for Chinese New year because it seems like for 2 weeks the doors of all the Chinese people just open to almost anybody and it's almost like a free passage in the door!  So we are hoping to go around, simply meeting as many people as we can,  so when the fireworks begin we will have already met everybody in Miri and then we can come back for Chinese New Year and maybe actually get in some houses. It'll be great and I feel really sneaky for doing it -  But anything goes when it comes to teaching the gospel! Am I right?!

Pictures of the zone all together with our zone t-shirts and hanging out on the beach

Love you all and have a happy week!

Elder Hanks

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Picture week!

Not much to report this week so enjoy some pictures!  Everyone is getting ready for Chinese New Year and I have a feeling it will be a huge celebration here in Miri so hopefully we will both still be in Miri to enjoy it! Transfers are coming up next week! Elder Geilman and I are working hard to find new investigators this week to fill our teaching pool and we are praying for solid investigators. Wish us luck!

PS - I got a ton of mail this week (probably because of my birthday!)  Thanks everyone for the birthday cards & writing to me! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Double Birthday Week!

It was a wonderful week this week with Elder Geilman's AND my birthday. Member's and investigators helped us have a wonderful birthday week and I really did enjoy it. A member went out and bought me a black chicken. I don't really know how they do it-  but apparently the chicken is just naturally black- So that's kind of cool! Also, I not only got a candle for my cake, but I got a CANDLE for my birthday. So i lit it up outside.

I want to thank everyone for their birthday wishes!  You are all the best and so nice!

It was a lot of people's birthday this week so I
made some cupcakes for an investigator because it was his birthday and I just want to say that my character drawing with frosting has improved so much since I've been on my mission!! yeah? It was just a day full of cake and ice cream. What more could you ask for?Well,  It was also the day of teaching our free English class and we didn't really have a lot of people come. We were a little disappointed & wondered why - Then we took a second look at our flyers and we realized why we probably didn't have that many people come. Maybe next week.

Is it the misspelled word or that the flier is already in English
for those who can't read English yet.....!  

Growth in Miri is going great. We are planning on extending the hours from 2 to 3 like normal church and people seemed pretty excited about it! We are too because that will hopefully bring a greater understanding within the branch now and greater activity later!  And with the Chinese New Year coming up we will hopefully be finding more people to teach as we are constantly getting people inviting us over to their house for Chinese New Year. Everything is turning red....EVERYTHING! Happy soon to be Chinese New Year

From the now 20 year-old,
Elder Hanks
I think some one got a new birthday tie....?

Elder Geilmans Birthday was this week too! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year, Happy Baptism, Happy Birthday! what a week!

With the start of the new year comes new focuses and dreams that we hope to accomplish. One of my dreams came true this past week with the baptism of our most golden investigator of all time! He was so much fun to teach and would always be anxious to learn more and more! He bore a great testimony of the church and it's teachings. Elder Geilman was able to help him be baptized and I was able to give a talk at his baptism. We are so happy to have him and he will probably receive the Aaronic priesthood next week!  We are really anxious for him to continue to learn, but it will be no problem for him because he has talked to us a lot about how he wants to help lead in the church and help other people grow in the gospel. We are now going to teach his wife and his daughter. Isn't that just the best? Teaching a family now! They are such an awesome family! The gospel blesses so many lives! 

So after his baptism we found out that the pump, that drains the water was broken, so Elder Geilman and I spent the day emptying the font bucket by bucket. It only took us an hour and a half so I'm impressed with how quick we did it.

We were also able to spend our new year's at his house for steamboat which is basically they have a soup in the middle that's really hot. Then they have a bunch of meats and vegetables on the side in bowls. Then you just take whatever you want to eat: chicken, beef, lettuce, mushrooms, etc., and you stick it in the soup for a little bit. Once cooked you take out and eat it! So good!!! But surprisingly there weren't that many fireworks. Just a few. All the Chinese people say they're saving up for the Chinese New Year. That's going to be so epic.

My black year is over-  the black year is the full calendar year in a missionary's mission that he completely spends in serving the Lord. So I left in Sept., so my black year started Jan 2014 thru Dec 2014. It's so weird because I don't like saying I'm going home this year. It's too weird. And I also think it's weird saying that I'm going to be 20 years old. That just makes me sound old. We found out who our new mission president is going to be. The church will be announcing it sometime in Jan in the Church News so you guys back home can look for that. That's another weird thought.

Nothing like hot chocolate when its a rainy 80 degrees outside!

It was pouring rain a lot this past week so Elder Geilman and I would spend our time out in the dark, rainy, nights and surprise visit less active members and it was perfect! Due to the chinese people's dislike of rain it's most likely that you will find less active members at home when it's raining. Then we would come home to drink hot chocolate to warm our not really cold, but just wet bodies. Now we are going to be doing this more often because it works! We had some less actives come to Saturday's baptism which was so great!  And we had a record attendance in Sacrament meeting of 46! The highest it's ever been in the branch. We're growing!!! We love the people and working here in Miri! 

With the branch growing we are now going to have to figure out the biggest problem we have: language barriers. About 50% of our branch speaks/reads only English while the other 50% are the same in Chinese. So we are maybe going to improve our branch through making 2 classes for Sunday school. We hope that this means great things for our young branch.

I'm loving the mission so far. It's making me stretch so much and making me learn. I love these sorts of situations to figure out. I just need time, faith, and a lot of patience. 

This is my last letter as a 19 year old. Next letter I'll be ..... 20... ew.

Happy New Year!
Elder Hanks