Hey all! Leih dim a? (How are you?)
I saw Elder Rose today in the cafeteria trying to act like he was a missionary. He told me, echoing a few other people, that I write novels for emails. I'm not preparing for an apology. At least my mom loves me. Ha!
Ah well, the reason for being a man of many words is that I prepare. I prepare what I want to say not only to "investigators" and for talks and for priesthood meetings, but also for my messages home. I feel that you all and especially my family are extremely important, and that the message of the gospel can and will bless the lives of everyone. If it is within my power to share my message at home and overseas, I will do both!
Well, this week has been good. The only downside I can think of is I had to miss attending the Temple today with my companions, because I woke up sick with a cold. I was afraid that walking outside too long might not be conduscive to my health, so I stayed back and studied on a sick bed for a couple hours. It sounds wimpy, I know, but I'm grateful I have P-Day to cover me and allow me to regain some much needed rest. There is just too much work to be done!
Elder Holland came to speak to us last tuesday a couple hours after I wrote my email. I love that man. This is the SECOND time I've seen him since being in the MTC. He spoke some very interesting things to us, my favorite being about his feelings toward Mosiah 6:9, which talks about following "... after the manner of the workings of the Spirit." He asked us what the manner of the Spirit was, and then willed us to not only follow the Spirit as we teach, but to BE like the Spirit when we teach. To teach after the manner of the Spirit. Two interesting insights he gave to the manner of the Spirit were these: "The Spirit is provocative." Quite the statement, yet true. When we feel and recognize the Spirit, we are inspired to act. As we teach, it is essential that the investigator DOES something in order to achieve their own individual witness of the truth. We must not be coersive, but be persuasive. I am inspired never to leave a lesson without doing everything in my power to help the investigator have incentive to act. I have a firm witness for myself that it is by our actions and our willingness to just DO as the Lord asks that brings the most tangible and recognizable blessings. Another point he brought up was that the Spirit is always clean. In order to be worthy to perform that which we have the authority to perform, we must strive for purity. And I love the purity that accompanies the Spirit.
I should clarify to those who may have heard wrong. I'm not actually teaching REAL investigators, not nonmembers invited into the MTC. But I bear witness that regardless of that fact, I am teaching REAL people. Here's the way I see it. It does not matter to me that Bonnie or Soren (who left) or Taahm (our new one) are really our Cantonese teachers. When I walk into that meeting with them, they are who they say they are. You know why? I am convinced that every teacher who comes in acting as an investigator is a real person with real problems and challenges. The problems that they address with us reflect their own, and there is nobody in this world who is not seeking direction of some kind. I'm a missionary! I didn't come into the MTC merely to learn, I came here to teach! If I have authority and power given to me from God, I expect to use them to the furthest extent that God will allow.
Now, that brings me to the best part of this week! We have that activity called TRC that I mentioned before. This week we had the opportunity to teach a 40 minute lesson. We taught Ngaai Hingdaih, an older man who served his mission in Hong Kong in the 60s. He has returned for TRC frequently to volunteer. I think he came with the idea that he was going to help us learn the language, and to be of service to the struggling missionaries. Call me proud or call me stubborn, but now that we had 40 min to actually talk to this man, I wasn't going to let him have control. I was there to teach Ngaai Hingdaih, a real person with real challenges living in the real world. My Cantonese obviously isn't that great yet (in fact we have a new missionary from the new district who already speaks and told me bluntly that I'm no good) so I decided there was no use in beating around the bush. After we had gotten to know him better and established expectations, I said, "Ngaai Hingdaih, you have had a very interesting life. As missionaries, we are here to help you, no matter what the challenge. We all face challenges. What are your life's challenges?" He seemed very surprised, but willingly continued to share something that was obviously very personal to him. GOOD THING I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HE SAID. I only got bits and pieces, but it turned out that he was worried about his 25 year old son who was wasting his life away playing video games and refusing to work or move forward. I remember thinking, I don't know what this guy just said, but I'm gonna help him! I bore testimony of the Book of Mormon, and that regardless of our challenges that God wants to help us, and that we can always receive further revelation if we seek after it. My teacher's job is to watch the TRC volunteer's face on camera as we teach so that they can give insight to the missionaries for improvement. Later that night my teacher said, "It was obvious that you had no idea what he just told you, but he seemed to absorb your message that there was more he could do to receive revelation."
Man I was so ready to burst when I realized what he actually said. But the Spirit with teach and be with us. I know it and I can feel it! I can't wait to get better at Cantonese for once in my life.
I'm now Zone Leader for the missionaries coming in and out of our branch until I leave on April 2nd. I love you all, and love to my family especially! I hope something I've said will be of benefit to you.
Love, Elder Hazen