Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We do the Haka in Singapore too! Last Zone Conference with the Mains...

This past week we went to Singapore for our zone conference so sorry for my ridiculously short responses to all your emails last week. But I will make it up to you today... hopefully... !

Singapore was a great experience for my companion and I this week!  We enjoyed our P-day in Singapore. We went to the top of the Sands which is the amazing boat hotel in Singapore. It was such a cool view of all of Singapore and we enjoy being in such an amazing foreign land. I was having some sinus or allergy problems so I got me some nice looking shades to hide my read eyes and fake tears! haha !  I got some pretty funny comments during zone conference though. While some missionaries,  including President and Sister Mains, were speaking my eyes were all watering up, not from crying though. That's not what everyone else thought- As I looked around to make sure no one was looking at me or, to at least check to see if there were other people 'crying' - some people would catch a glimpse of me and mouth to me, "Are you okay?" I would try and explain that I'm okay, but let's just say that I got plenty of people asking, "Elder Hanks, how are things? Everything okay?" Haha ! Funny and embarrassing! Hope it goes away soon! 

Our zone for the past few weeks has been putting together a presentation for our mission president and his wife (this being their last Zone Conference before they leave back home)-  that being the Hakka. For the past few weeks we have been practicing the words and the dance and it was all building up to Tuesday's zone conference. Everyone was outside taking a zone conference picture when two of our zone members, one native to New Zealand and the other of Polynesian background, called out the Hakka cry. You could basically say, "JB zone ASSEMBLE!" It was a great and  President and Sister mains really loved it- In fact, I think everyone loved it. 

Thanks for the great stories about my Great Grandpa Murri! I totally guessed it was my ancestor (by luck) & so did the other missionaries in my group. They all said "this has Elder Hanks written all over it!" So thanks for sending that! 

Zone conference and MLC were great spiritual builders. We talked a lot about the doctrine of Christ as taught in the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31. The Spirit was very strong and to see our mission president give his testimony to us was just another realization that time is short. I have come to re-realize the importance of opening my mouth and do as the apostle M. Russell Ballard taught us a few weeks ago,  via a video to us missionaries in the Singapore mission, "to tell someone about it."
Another training we received recently in MLC was about the gift of tongues. It's not about studying the language every minute of every day. It's not about stressing every night over the mission language, it's about loving the people and those you serve. It was a great lesson to learn even for me who is a 'veteran' missionary. I can always try and improve in the gift of tongues -  loving the people who I am with.

I love my mission and my companion. He is great and with him at my side, I am going to try and make the most of all I can get with him because I can learn a lot from him. I love the words that my dad shared with me in this week's email. He invited me to not worry too much about going home and doing my best to focus on the mission. Especially now, where I have come to know time and time again the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, it seems silly to think about anything else than to share the Book of Mormon with others. 

Short story of the week. We went out to a super far part of our area. While there we were struggling to find a way back to our home because it was getting late and the buses had stopped running in that part of town. While waiting on Elder Baer to call a taxi  a man was just standing there waiting for his own taxi. I talked to him and engaged in conversation. As we talked, we got around to what I was doing in Malaysia. I shared with him our purpose and the Book of Mormon. This man was Hindu, but his wife was Christian. When he heard that it was another Testament of Jesus Christ he was excited and really wanted to share it with his wife. He gave me his information and took the Book. What a cool and great experience to be able to share that with him. 

Also, one more story sorry!  It was a good week of sharing the gospel! While on exchanges this week Elder Pierce and I were waiting for a taxi(again I know) and while we were standing there I saw an elderly man looking at us. I approached him and told him who I was, he told me he was also Christian from Sarawak. He then, before I could say anything to him, expressed a concern he had about Christianity. He said (in Chinese), "You know, the problem with churches today is that they are not all perfect. In the Bible it speaks of John who says that although he is baptizing by water there will be another who baptized later by fire." I was blown away.... I looked at him and said, "Well, in our church, the Church of Jesus Christ, we baptize by water and by fire, or the Holy Ghost." He looked shocked. He asked me, "Really?" I said, "Really." I told him that I knew he was a genuine seeker of the truth and, "You just found the truth." He asked, "I found it?" "You found it." "I found it?" "You found it." He was blown away. We exchanged information and his information was sent to the Sarawak missionaries. So cool.

Anyways. Today was a lot of stories but hope you enjoy!
 Love, Elder Hanks

Look! I found Elder Gara at Zone Conference in Singapore! Yea! Doesn't
he look great as a missionary! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Having miracles every week!

MAY 17, 2015 
I have a great testimony that the grace if Jesus Christ makes all the difference. I have tried to embrace as much as possible the grace of Christ as He has made the difference in our work. We had some great goals set for us this week and we set out to accomplish them with vigor. But it seems that half way through the week we got burned out a little bit. We didn't really know what happened, but we tried our best to exercise our faith in Christ and His work. In the end we worked hard and accomplished all of our goals and it was really by the mercy of God that we did. He is so good when it comes to His work. 

We had an awesome combined district meeting this past week with another district and we were trained about the love of Christ. It was a great training that helped us all gain a greater appreciation for Christ and what He does for us. The zone as a whole is doing great. We are going to hit our baptismal goal for the month which is so good! We are hyped!


I've enjoyed this week as it has been a crazy and fun week including playing soccer with kids, finding people to teach, bringing people to church and watching a wonderful elderly sister receive baptism. She is a sweet little woman and I love her. She has a beautiful smile and her baptismal service was a great experience to witness. We watched again the video, "Because He Lives." The Spirit touched me greatly. We are doing great. We love the work we are called to do and the Lord continues to bless us with tender mercies. 

A miracle we experienced this past week was with a sweet little lady who comes from no Christian background. We have always been hesitant to invite her to church because of having so little knowledge of  Christianity, so we were basically starting from square one- who is God. While traveling to another investigators house, we passed by her house & we felt prompted to invite her to church. We knocked and she came out to greet us. We asked her if she would want to come to church and she said YES, but she didn't have a car to get there. We thought for a moment and remembered a member who is somewhat a little inactive, who lives just up the street from here. So we called him up and asked if he could take this sweet little auntie to church and he siad YES too! 
We were so happy to see her come to church and ask many questions. One time during sacrament meeting, as the member of the branch presidency was giving his talk, she heard something in his talk that she really liked so she calls up to the podium and asked a question- totally adding to the talk he was giving! She got a few looks from some of the other people, but she wasn't looking at the audience, she was looking at the branch presidency member as he then answered her question! Haha! She was so happy and so were we! She was very welcomed by the branch! So great and what a blessing! 

Miracles are happening here!  I am in Singapore today because Zone Conference is tomorrow ! Got to run! 
Love you all, 
Elder Hanks

May 10, 2105 
Pre Rugby picture- clean clothes! 
We had zone meeting this past week and that was a really fun experience as it was my first zone meeting. I love my zone and all they do. We had a fun activity the day before of rugby. Because it rained a little bit before we played we were like slipping all over the place, but we all had fun. 

The meeting itself was great as we trained the zone to have more urgency in doing the Lord's work. When we are urgent in doing the Lord's work we are successful and more effective. So the ultimate vision that we came up with, that we talked with our zone about, was the vision for every companionship in the JB zone to have 1 baptism per month. There is a lot of faith here in the zone and with that faith I know we can accomplish our zone's baptismal goal for the year. 

Elder Baer and I went to Melaka this past week to do exchanges with the elders there; Elder Lallemant and Elder Ebeling. They are two really faithful and awesome elders. I enjoyed my time there as we taught a beautiful family of Tamil people and a Chinese girl later that day. We met with that Chinese girl which was her first lesson with the elders and by the end of sharing the Restoration with her Elder Lallemant and Elder Ebeling had her commit to baptism. Sick! They are doing great work there in Melaka!

I got to skype my family today and I loved talking to them. Hanks family, you are the best! Love you guys! I'm just so grateful that we have such a powerful understanding that families are forever. So you can see that picture(Nice face Max). 

Happy Mother's Day to all you mother's. A great weekend it's been for me as an investigator I taught in Miri received baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost this weekend. And now we are looking forward to another baptism here, this week too. I'll keep you updated on that. (It's a long and fun story.)

A miracle we experienced this week was in finding, teaching and going for baptism. We had contacted a younger Indian boy a few weeks ago. He express interest in learning more about the "bible" and so we had set up an appointment with him for last Friday. We went over at the arranged time but couldn't find him there. So instead we found a friend of his who was doing homework so we talked to him for a bit until the boy we were looking for came back. He and his friend said they were busy at the time preparing for an exam and so we started to leave when he came out and said "you know, I have an hour if you guys want to talk." So we went back and talked to these 2 young men about the church. They don't have a Christian background and didn't know a lot about church stuff so we just showed them pictures from the gospel art book and answered any questions they had. When we came to a picture of Jesus Christ being baptized, I asked them if they knew what it was and if so, would they like to be baptized. They said they would like time to think about it. They continued looking through the book and when they got to the baptismal pictures in the back, I think the Spirit really touched their hearts and the looked up and said "this is what we would like to follow". So we are now working towards baptism with the first young man and his friend is now a new investigator! What a miracle! 

Love you all!

My future car....! Please! 

Pres. Mains 

Going through immigration with thousands of other people! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

My first MLC in Singapore and we are ramping up!

May 3, 2015 
This past week my companion and I got to go to Singapore for our mission's missionary leadership council. It was such a spiritual experience and I loved being there with some of the greatest leaders in the mission including our mission president. I took away so much from that meeting and I now look forward to MLC every month. On the way back from Singapore we contacted some Mainland Chinese people in the line through immigration. We shared with them a little bit of what the church is about and they thought it was so cool. It was hard for me to understand them though,  because we would say to them,
(We know that this church is true. Are you willing to learn the polyphony (principles?)  can bless your family too – I had to google translate this &I dont think it’s quite  right! )

Then they were like, "哦!可以!没有问题。但是你们的教会是在中国里面哪里?
(Oh! You can! No problem. But your church is in China where there)   not in china?

So it was fun stuff anyway! But we are looking forward to sharing with our zone what we learned in MLC.

We are working with our investigators towards baptism and it's going really well for them right now. Our zone is building up in urgency and effectiveness because we have an awesome zone (haha, they all are really). We are so stoked to be part of this zone and we both feel like there's a great 'stirring' in the zone. It is a great feeling and we are going to wreck this next transfer! 

As my companion and I were preparing for zone meeting this past week we were studying in Preach My Gospel chapter 1 to look for a greater purpose to share with our zone missionaries. My companion helped make a great discovery from our study. On page 2 it speaks of how our understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ grows the greater we will feel the importance of making the gospel known to the world and all those we pass( I didn't quote it word for word, but close enough). As we were talking about it Elder Baer looked at me and said, "As you were reading that paragraph the last time a thought came to my mind. If we don't feel the importance of preaching the gospel, we don't understand the atonement." Isn't that a great insight!

We are off to our zone activity- Rugby in the rain! It's going to be insane! 
Love you all and I'm looking forward to Mother's Day skyping my family next week!

Elder Hanks

April 27, 2015 
I had to say good-bye to Miri this past week and it was a weird feeling that I have never had before leaving an area; I had a strong impression of fulfillment and satisfaction. I felt and know that leaving Miri I had done all that I could do to fulfill my purpose as a missionary there in that part of the vineyard. That was a great feeling. I do miss Miri and I hope to go back one day. 

I really do love Miri, and I'm really excited for Johor Bahru. It's in West Malaysia right on the border of Malaysia and Singapore. So whenever we go to Singapore it's by bus, no longer by plane. We will be going to Singapore, my new companion - Elder Bear and I, for our mission's MLC (mission leader conference). I'm really excited to serve the Lord and the mission as a zone leader and I already feel the great responsibility this calling has.  I know it will help inspire me to work harder than ever before.  With only about 5 months left there's nothing to lose!
 The branch here in Johor Bahru is great. It's also a small branch, but a branch of strong members. A lot of them have been to the temple and on missions so there is a powerful spirit when I am with them. I loved sacrament meeting with them as they all knew the importance of the sacrament meeting and..... well, I just love it! It's amazing! 

Elder Baer and I are getting down to the work as we were able to find some less actives that some people didn't know were in JB and teach other investigators that are on date for next month. Things are going great here in JB and I am very grateful for all the missionaries, members, investigators, and people that have been a part of my mission. 

I just want to give my deep gratitude and love to all the members and other people I met in Miri. I love you all and I will always remember you and you have changed my life.  (a few departing pictures from Miri) 
Love Elder Hanks