Friday, July 31, 2015

100 phone numbers and a baptism!

Elder Pearce, Elder Avery, Pres. & Sis. Simmons, Elder Lloyd 
This has been a great week and although it feels like a long, long week, a lot has happened. First was that President Simmons came for a visit to us in our apartment and we were happy to have him. For the other three elders it might have been their first time meeting him; mine was in Singapore last month at MLC. But we received great counsel from him and his wife. We all love them so much and they have a great love for all of us. Everyone is excited to have them. I even heard Sister Simmons went on exchanges with some sisters in East Malaysia and that included riding bikes and all - cool!!!!!

We were contacting a lot this past week and using our bikes more than before. I really have come to enjoy contacting. One miracle was we were about to finish contacting in an area because it was getting dark and on the way back Elder Lloyd (what a man)turned to me and said, "Elder, let's knock this one last house." We did and a younger boy saw us and called out to the mom or whoever, "There are white people outside!" (in Chinese of course). There was some rustling in the back when a mom came to the door followed by an older woman. The younger one asked, "Anything?" But then the older woman pushed her aside and said, "Hello Elders!" We were both stunned. We asked how she knew the elders and she said with a little chuckle, "I am a member!" This woman was a member from Singapore but had been in England for the past little while. While there, she could not find the church there and had been praying for a chance to find the elders, but never did; until now ! We found her in a friend's house in Malaysia! Crazy! She thought it was a miracle and was so happy to see us. She told us she would be going back soon. I told her my awesome brother was going to England for his mission and she got really excited. I exchanged with her my email and she is hoping to go back to England in a few months and find the younger Elder Hanks! Cool stuff.

We made a vision for us here in JB and it has really helped us be motivated and so part of our vision is to get 100 phone numbers in this transfer. We are stoked and like my awesome new companion always says, "LETS GO!!!!!" hahaa! We are loving JB! 

We are expecting a baptism this upcoming Friday and hopefully everything will go smoothly; that's the day we usually teach English class. Teaching is really something I like and helps me feel really good, engaged with the people and helpful.

The lesson crunch of the week was teaching an investigator for the last time before he goes to Ireland, about the temple. We felt we should talk about the Holy Ghost first and then the temple. It took us 2 lessons in two days, one right after the other ! (Friday night and then again on Saturday night) to more fully help them understand the blessing and magnitude of having a temple and what it means for our families. It was so cool and the Spirit was so strong. In fact we could all taste it and made me cry. It was the first time I have cried in a while, but the Spirit was really strong.

I discovered something about my purpose as a missionary and it happened as I was teaching the lesson I talked about above. The reason I came on a mission is because I want my family and all my spiritual brothers and sisters to live with me forever. I told my investigators we were teaching that we really loved them and wanted the best for them. Then I asked them, "One day us elders will go back to America and you might move away. We may never see each other again. But what if I gave you a choice of being with us for 2 years or eternity, what would you want?" As I asked that it seemed to bring the Spirit and it clicked in their heads the blessing of eternity.

It's been a great week. I love you all and I want to wish younger Elder Hanks the best in his final preparation for his mission. I'm sure you did great with your farewell talk yesterday! Can't wait to hear it! 

Elder Hanks

Ps... Return travel plans arrived today (friday 731/2015)  for Elder Hanks return...
Wednesday Oct 7th at 6:49pm!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Our apartment doubled in size!

On Monday Elder Baer packed up all of his stuff, and Tuesday morning left..... I almost cried, but luckily no one saw my teary eyes. As he was driving away in the taxi Elder Benson--the senior couple missionary--said to me, "There goes a great man." I replied, "One of the greatest men I have ever met." 

Trying to make Asian eyes....did we pass? 

So long Elder Baer....

Tuesday was a day I just got to follow the senior couple because I had no one else to follow or be with. That was a fun experience and I am very grateful for all that they do for us missionaries. They are the greatest and they helped with some lessons that were great! We are having some great success here in JB!

the day I was companionless......

I have 2 miracles to share for this week's work. First has to do with one progressing investigator who wants to be a missionary, and the other has to do with working with members.

1. We are currently teaching a 16 year-old young man and he has been learning for about a month. Ever since he has come to our English class and we introduced Jesus Christ to him he has been progressing so fast!!! In this last week's lesson he brought a friend and that was great because we were planning on sharing with them the Atonement of Jesus Christ. But before we got into the lesson too much we wanted to see what our investigator's understanding of the plan of salvation was, because that is what we taught last time. After we asked him to give us a summary of the plan-  he sat up in his chair, turned to his friend and proceeded to give one of the most amazing summaries of the plan of salvation in under 2 minutes I have ever heard and he didn't even miss a single detail concerning the plan!!  Elder Lloyd, it was his  first lesson in JB,  was just blown away and we were just so impressed! This investigator's on date and later in life will be a great missionary! Love it!  
2. On Tuesday, after Elder Baer left and before Elder Lloyd arrived, I made an appointment with a former investigator family, but needed a companion to come with me. So I called a member in our branch and he agreed to come with me. On the way to the appointment,  I was guiding him to this house and he would say, "I think I have been to this house before." We arrived at the house and he said, "Yep! I've been here before." Once inside we bore powerful testimony of the gospel and the peaceful feelings we get from coming to church, etc. The Spirit was really powerful and after leaving the lesson on the way home the member turned to me and said, "You know, it was almost a year ago that I came to this house to share the gospel with this family and I haven't thought about them for a while, it was only until Yesterday that the thought of this family came back to me. Then you called me to go with you to teach them... weird." I thought it was a miracle from Heavenly Father and was so cool!!!!

The JB Chinese Elders... Hanks, Pearce, Lloyd & Avery

Elders running late for church! 

So now there are 4 elders here in the house and they are all awesome! Elder Avery doesn't stop making me laugh with his funny lines and phrases. Elder Pearce won't eat any food I try to give to him,  so he is way to courteous. And Elder Lloyd is such I stud I can't believe the Lord would bless me so much! Elder Lloyd is a hard worker and is from Bountiful. I already love him so much and he never stops being grateful for things, even trees... I have found that his being grateful is one of the greatest traits about him, he never stops being grateful for what he has and what he can do! He is awesome and I am looking forward to working more with him in the next couple of weeks!

I am loving this life and time that I have as missionary. I need to be more grateful for these kinds of things more. 

Elder Hanks

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Departing Elder Baer...with miracles though!

July 13,  2015


I hope the last week of my mission can be as good as it was for Elder Baer's last week! This week was a great week full of miracles and blessings. So let's name a few, shall we?

To start, it's a standard of excellence that we as missionaries find 2 new investigators every week in order to continue to find new people to bring unto Christ and keep the funnel filled. All week we were trying to find new people and meet with previously-met potentials, but no one would meet with us. Sunday(the last day of the week) came around and we were worried we wouldn't hit our goal. Luckily we had many investigators come to church and 2 of them were Indian investigators we have been teaching for not too long. We asked them if we could come over and share with them more about the gospel. They agreed and so we went. As we entered their house-  with some members,  it was literally a miracle as 2 sisters of the investigator (who came to church)  came out from the back room.! We met with them and shared the message of the Restoration. The Spirit was very strong and they all agreed to allow us to come back again and share more. 2 New investigators!!!!! we were so happy to achieve our goals.

With Elder Baer leaving many of the members had taken us out for lunch and invited us to go to dinners with them. We were very full this week, but the members here are so awesome and I love them so much! The branch here is just so awesome and I love being with every single one of our members.
    We had zone meeting this past week and for the zone activity we went bowling. I shocked myself with the highest score and many strikes. I had no idea since it has been awhile since I've practiced my bowling skills.....!  But Zone meeting itself was a great experience where we all had a great council in which we talked about our new mission president and we are all really excited about serving with him. And with 3 months left with my new companion.... ELDER LOYYD... it is going to be a party. I am so excited to be his companion, although I am sad Elder Baer is leaving. With the new transfers though, we are having 2 new elders come into the JB area with us. So the house will again be 4 chinese Elders! I'm really excited about this and hope to do my best in helping 3 elders get oriented to the massive JB area. Wish me luck....  

We are having many investigators coming to church now and they are loving church. We are hoping to help them continue to progress towards baptism. It's a big topic with all of our investigators so we are pushing them to continue towards it. JB is awesome!!!!  

Elder Hanks

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Celebrating the 4th & our new mission president

This week was a great week of celebrating our amazing freedom and  welcoming of our new mission president. Great things are happening in our area too! 
On Thursday we went over to Singapore to our mission's Missionary Leadership Council where we met our wonderful new mission president and his wife, President and Sister Simmons. Of course we are sad that President and Sister Mains are gone and we will miss them, but we are loving having a new mission president. He is great and I love him especially because he served in the Taiwan mission when he was younger - SO HE SPEAKS MANDARIN! Well, only a little bit. He and his wife are also trying to learn Malay too, so that is great of them to do that so they can speak to all members of Malaysia and Singapore. MLC itself was really inspiring and we are going to have a great zone meeting this week about becoming master teachers who teach by the power of the Holy Spirit. The mission is in good hands. 

After we came back,  celebrating our country came and we were fortunate to have a great 4th of July lunch with the senior couple who live in the same complex as we do. In our apartment we have this little green want-to-be grill that we decided to try cooking with. Even with all our eagle scout skills and flammable deodorants we could find,  the charcoals wouldn't catch on fire! So we just went back to the stove. The meal was so good and we talked about the blessings of being a citizen of such a great country. Go AMERICA! 

Miracles from this week are many and mostly about baptism. We have been trying so hard for the past few weeks to get our investigators on date. We weren't having too much luck and we just kept trying our best. One young investigator whose mom is a member wants to be baptized, but when we asked his dad he said, "Only when you are 21." This kid was only 11. But the mom talked to his dad and his dad changed his mind! He'll be baptized at the end of this month! 
More miracles include this younger 16 year-old. We started teaching him last week and we shared with him the restoration. We gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to pray. The next time we saw him he was so happy and excited to tell us that he did pray and he felt an amazing peace and joy. He said he never felt that kind of joy before and he wants to be baptized! So cool! 
Last one was we started teaching two 19 year olds last week and like the 16 year-old above, we shared the Restoration and invited them to read the Book of Mormon. We caught up with them later to ask how their reading was going. They reported that they did read and understood a lot. One of the boys said that by reading the Book of Mormon he feels that he is coming closer to something that he should know. We were both blown away and they are both wanting to continue to learn.

We have some great investigators who are learning and we are looking forward to some great baptisms at the end of this month and next month too. It will also be in a great new font that is being built in the chapel! 
The members here are great too! Our branch mission leader is so great and in this week's testimony meeting he was the first of many other members to run up onto the stand to share a powerful testimony. A great spirit was felt in sacrament and everyone seems really excited about coming to church. The church is so true and I love being a missionary! 
Love from Malaysia!
Elder Hanks

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lions and tigers and bears - oh my!

We have had some cool miracles this past week; in particular in finding investigators! 

One miracle find:
We had met a young man on the street and invited him to English class. He came 2 weeks in a row and the second week he came he asked me about a picture of Jesus Christ I had with me. We talked about it and he said he would like to learn to trust in Jesus Christ. I gave him the picture I had and invited him back to learn more. He came back to the church the next day where we taught him about Jesus Christ's life and he really liked it! He came to church the next day for all 3 hours and the only part he didn't like was that he didn't get the memo to wear formal clothes. So i think next week he will wear formal clothes. But he has been taught twice now and has agreed to be baptized. He even invited a friend to come to the church too! He's awesome!

We also taught a Chinese man this past week the first lesson at the church and he brought a Indian friend who really wants to learn about Jesus Christ. We are hoping to have many people progress towards baptism in the few months-  so that's what we need. Pray for us! We are finding so many people to teach, but now we need to baptize them! It's frustrating that they are not progressing more, but we need to help them understand is that this is what will give them true happiness! 
This past week we also went to Melaka for exchanges and we had a great time with the elders there. They are awesome and they are doing a great job at helping others come unto Christ! 

I have loved working as a missionary this week. The branch had a missionary Sunday this past week where missionary work was the underlining topic of discussion in sacrament meeting. We had Elder Baer, a branch RM, and the branch mission leader give talks and it was very spiritual. I hope that with all the talking of missionary work the work in this branch will pick up! Also in sacrament meeting I got to play the accompaniment of the musical number which was the EFY medley. I didn't do that bad so that's a plus!!! I was pretty nervous. 

I'm loving the mission, like I said before, and I want to help everyone we see and teach,  be baptized and to come unto Christ! I love this church and this work. Love you all and sorry my email isn't too fun this week, but maybe next time. 
We did go to the local zoo here which was pretty cool and had tigers, lions, and bears. OH MY! and it was only 2 ringgit so that's like 53 american cents. Talk about cheap right? 
Peace, from your missionary in Malaysia!
Elder Hanks

PS. we are losing Pres. & Sis. Mains this week! They have been an awesome mission president & wife! They have worked so hard for all of us missionaries & we will really miss them. Pres. & Sis Simmons officially start on Wednesday July 1st!

my arrival picture in 2013 with Pres. & SIs. Mains