Leih hou Mom and everybody!
Time is really starting to fly. The english speaking districts who were with us from the beginning are moving out and tomorrow we'll have new sets of Elders coming in. I swear the first 3 days here felt like an eternity, and now 3 weeks later I feel like I've barely been here. Maybe time is becoming less of an illusion now because 3 weeks really isn't that long.
Last tuesday night there was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the MTC; Elder Holland and Elder Nelson came to speak to us. Elder Nelson spoke about the history of the MTC and missionary work since the beginning of the Church's restoration. He relayed to us the story of Dan Jones who went to Wales and baptized by the thousands. He would advertise weeks in advance to different places that he would be coming to convert the town. Upon saying that, Elder Nelson paused, looked at us and said, "Try that." It was funny, but at the same time I remember thinking how that is exactly the kind of thing I want to do. Who knows what Hong Kong has in store.
I realize I haven't spoke of my companions that much, and I feel bad. Elder Welker was originally my companion-- he's half Japanese and a wicked smart kid. I actually met him last semester in my Physics class, so it was interesting to be paired up with him. Elder Passey makes the threesome, and he's a genuine Elder with a big heart. He loves basketball. He likes to beatbox for me while I sing hymns around the MTC's hallowed grounds.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about sincere prayer and how to pray with "real intent." Preach My Gospel defines praying with real intent as praying with a willingness and commitment to act on the answer we receive. One of our investigator's asked us, "Why should I begin praying now when my life is good and I've never prayed before?" It's a very interesting question; oftentimes people who are interested in the gospel in the first place are those who already recognize that there is something missing and that it can help them. I think I forget sometimes that everybody regardless of how good their life is going need the gospel in their lives. It has caused me to reflect more on why I need the gospel in my own life. I invite you all to take the time and write down the question "Why do I need the gospel?" and then answer. Then write "Why do I love the gospel?" I think most of you will be surprised at the answers you find.
We've been learning how to be more specific in our daily planning; I've never been so precise in writing down every little thing that I'm going to do every single minute of the day. I should have listened to you, Mom and Dad, it's tedious but I seriously get so much done.
I wish to share a short experience I had earlier this week. In everything that we've been doing, my companions and I have, as I mentioned before, been getting very exhausted. Sometimes exhaustion allows the adversary to work on you; to make you short and terse with one another, quick to snap, and argumentative. After a short confrontation, I felt very displeased with myself for allowing it to become contentious. I felt lacking in spirit and just broken after a hard day's cramming of language and gospel study into my brain. I went to a corner and just prayed to Heavenly Father and quietly pleaded for Him to soften my heart. I felt a calm and rushing energy envelope me as I began to ask for forgiveness of a contentious heart. You may have heard before the phrase "chastised by the Spirit." I think I understand what it means now. My mind began to be flooded with thoughts of love, telling me to be still and forget my pride. I sat there quietly and let the feeling linger as I truly felt my soul chastened. Then one of my favorite scriptures came into my head, Alma 29:1-3, 6. Read them. I feel as if I've come into the mission with the idea that I would be the perfect and best missionary in the world, to call the world to repentance. I've been working so hard, but as I think we all sometimes forget, we cannot do a great work without the Lord's help. I am just a man, and will be content with what the Lord has allotted me.
Many may have heard the saying "with great power comes great responsibility." Being out here has really changed that for me, and if it won't offend anyone, I'd like to change the rhetoric slightly: With great responsibility comes great power. The Lord has given each of us missionaries a great responsibility to bear not only their witness, but an apostolic witness of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as they carry the title of Elder. I have felt this power in the little time that I've been here, and I want you all to know that Jesus Christ does indeed live, that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and the Son, and that God speaks. To all of us. It is our duty to know for ourselves and to pray with real intent. The answer is there, if you are willing to listen and to act on the answer you receive. We all need a Savior, and I know more than ever that I need Him.
Ngoh ngoi leihdeih,