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

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