Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Believing in People - A Force For Good

Leihdeih hou ma? Jeuigahn dim a?
This week has been as busy as ever -- we have way more people scheduled than usual, and that's on top of our Island-wide English activity every day from 3-5. All I have to say is use your resources. I don't know why Elder Ng and I never went through the Area Book when we were companions -- it's gold! It's a 3 inch thick record of everybody who has ever had interest in our message in our area in the past 10 years! This Saturday I managed to schedule 5 people I've never met before, right on top of each other. I'm guessing some will fong us, but we haven't even gone through a third of our area book yet and we've scheduled more people than we have in weeks. Here's hoping for a new pool of investigators, pumped and ready to progress!
V. is well prepared for his baptism on Sunday. I promise I'll have pictures next week. I solemnly testify to every person who reads this that neither my companion or I converted V. The Book of Mormon converted him, and there's no other means through which he could have gained a testimony of the truthfulness of our message. I've watched him change from the first time we met with him months ago to now. Every question he had was answered because he kept his commitment and read the Book of Mormon. If the people don't read the book, they will never be converted. I know that without a doubt, because I know the same is for me. I have to convert myself every day, and it's only through the Book of Mormon that I can achieve that. I read it, study it, ponder it's message, share it's teachings and testify of it every single day. I know it's true, and my testimony is sealed to the world by the millions of others who share it, and it is sealed to me by the power of the Holy Ghost.
I met with President Hawks last week -- I may have already mentioned that. "Raise your vision, Increase your faith" is the big motto in our mission right now. I've already shared with you the immensity of his vision, and it really affected me. So I decided to talk with him personally; I really wanted to know what he'd have me do to contribute to that vision. After talking with him, I came to a realization that I've wasted a lot of time the past 4 months. Elder Ng and I had this idea engrained in our heads that if we could get people to see we weren't any different than them besides the tag we wear, they'd open their hearts to our message. Board game after board game, basketball match after basketball match, we did everything we could to get people's numbers and contact information. We were tired of people thinking we're an evil church. Always avoiding us. To this President Hawks replied, "What gets people to know you aren't evil, playing board games or teaching them the Restored Gospel?"
Since that meeting, we've significantly cut the amount of time we've spent with investigators in lesson -- preparing something short, powerful, straightforward and sincere. We are paying attention to what the feeling is when the investigator leaves -- do they leave after we've ended the lesson talking being their chums or when the Spirit is still powerful? What makes them want to return? Their buddy, or the power of God? I've already seen the counsel of my mission president manifest it's promised blessings in my work as I've hearkened to it, and I know he is a man of God.
I've been immersed in the scriptures lately. It's partly been inspired by my companion, Elder Wu, who has several scriptures marked on practically every page of his Standard Works. He was a convert at 13, but had read the Bible through 3 times before he had even touched a Book of Mormon. We've made a companionship goal to do scripture study from 10:15-11:00pm in our nightly free time. The more I read the scriptures, the more open my mind feels. The more real everything is, and the more obvious it's truth becomes.
Something I've reflected on over and over again is why people won't even bother to experiment the truth of God. They refuse further happiness at the wave of their hand. I've come to find as I've engaged in theological conversation most hours of my day that many major religions and philosophies, in fact, all of them beyond the true gospel of Jesus Christ, are self-centered and convenient. Your common Hong Kong street philosophy can be summed up in the phrase, "I believe in myself."
I don't question the value of inner potential or the power of the individual. I think there is a lot of truth to it -- and in fact, I preach about it. We teach that every man has the capacity to become like their Father in Heaven, and it is their purpose to overcome their trials in order to achieve such a worthy and marvelous potential. People often quote Gandhi's wisdom: Be the change you wish to see in the world. I agree, we must act if we want to see change, if we want to progress. But if I may, I'd like to add to that statement: Beyond believing in yourself, we must believe in other people. My discouragement and "failures" have caused me to disbelieve in other people. I've hung my head and thought, "These people will never change. They're all too stubborn. I can't do anything about it." But what the heck does that kind of attitude do for ANYBODY?
Missionaries go to their respective areas of service to be a force for good! How can any of us expect to do that when our heads are drooped low and our hearts are full of disbelief? I testify that this gospel is not a gospel of convenience. It is not a self-centered philosophy. Every man and woman needs God and Jesus Christ, whether they realize it or not. Start by believing in them. We are a light to the world. We are not an idle people. We must reach out.
I love you all. May God bless and prosper you all. Reach out to the world, and believe in them.
Love, Elder Hazen

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