Monday, February 2, 2015

New Companion, 3 hour church and prayer works!

It has been a fun week here in Miri as I have been able to welcome the newest member of our district, my companion, Elder South to the district!  He is a great elder and has a lot of energy!. He reminds me of a little ball just buzzing with energy and does not know how to get all of his energy out of him! It's kind of fun to watch. But he is so great and awesome and I am so excited and grateful to be his companion.

Elder South! 
Our church is growing here in Miri and in order to fulfill all the needs of the branch with so many English and Chinese speakers we have changed the time to a half hour earlier and extended our meeting time to 3 hours. We usually would have sacrament meeting and then every other week switch between sunday school and a priesthood /relief society hour. So now we are just doing both every week like we should be! For the first week(yesterday) we expected fewer people to come and we were right. Fewer people did come, but we are looking to the future with great attitudes and we all felt like the  3 hour block was really good in teaching us the things we want ourselves and our members/investigators to learn. 

A good story I want to include in today's email has to do with our studying in Teachings of the Prophets: Ezra Taft Benson. We studied chapter 1 about the power of prayer and some of the things that we should all be doing with prayer is 1)  pray often, 2) in a good location,  3) listen, 4) pray with specifics in mind, and 5) prepare for prayer. I loved it and I applied those principles to a prayer last week. (I was still with Elder Geilman at the time when this happened.)  We were going to a designated area to contact and in our prayer before we left the house we were pondering the place we were to go and what we were going to do. In the prayer I remember asking specifically for someone to open their gate and to receive us to listen to our message. 
We arrived at our designated area and knocked no more than the 3rd house (which was literally like 5 minutes) and an older man came over to the gate. We talked for a while through his gate and when we introduced ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints he opened his gate and let us in! We sat with him and began a good conversation.

So long Elder Geilman! 
This man was a roman catholic but has not been to church for 12 years because he didn't think the church he went to was true and because missionaries of other churches has visited him before he didn't know what to do. He then continued on to explain that he didn't think his previous church was true because the priest offended him. His son passed away before he was baptized so when the father - the man we were talking to, went to the priest to ask if his son (who was Christian at heart) could be buried in the Christian graveyard the priest refused and told others that it was a lesson to teach him to baptize his other kids. We told this man about the power of this true gospel, the promise we have that we can live with our families forever, shared with him the Book of Mormon, and told him that his son could still be baptized. He listened to us and agreed to us coming back in the future as he continues to read the Book of Mormon.

Miracles are happening here in Miri and with Chinese New Year coming up we are trying our best to make sure we are known, and then people will invite us over to their place for the new year. Also this week I'm speaking/interpreting at a large dinner gathering for a large Asia-wide recycling organization called Tzu Chi where we have been volunteering and doing service. I'm a little bit nervous but I'm looking forward to it with hopes this will help us and the Church be better known among all of Miri and maybe even parts of Asia. 
These are a couple of Iban ties I  bought recently! 

Things are going well and I'm looking forward to my time with Elder South.

Love Elder Hanks

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