Apparently a few days ago we had the biggest Typhoon in 13 years. I thought it was cool, but I think I regarded the level 10 a little too lightly. We had to come home early at around 6pm when it hit, but it didn't seem all that bad. We may or may not have gone to the roof to take some pictures (it was only an 8 at that time, and not terribly rough). But by bedtime the wind was very fierce and extremely loud outside. Anyone who knows me well knows that almost all my life I've slept with a fan on so I fell asleep like a baby. But Elder Ng, a Hong Kong native who also never wakes up at night, was awake because he was scared that we didn't secure the windows enough. I was surprised how nonchalant I was about the whole situation when the following night we found copious amounts of water beneath the bunkbeds that had pushed through the windows. I'm not sure whether I should be worried or proud of my ability to carelessly fall into joyous slumber during severe storms on the upper floors of rusty, old apartment skyscrapers.
The work has been more encouraging lately -- what can a missionary expect but constant ups and downs. The important thing is we're focused and doing our best. Speaking of, this week I've really made it a point to make every hour of my day meaningful. It's so easy to get distracted or lazy in some aspects of your work without realizing it. A sense of urgency and exact obedience is really important to me. I really believe that God will push us through if we're making it a point to make every hour of our time meaningful. Elder Ng and I sat down for about 2 hours straight during a rainy day and listed every activity that we could think of down to our lunch hours to determine what is effective and what isn't, and how we could fix that.
Goal-setting is so important -- I'm realizing that God gives us so many resources to accomplish any variety of goals, and if we're only using one way to accomplish one goal, we're probably wasting our time. We are making it a point to look over each goal for the week every night and see how much time we have to accomplish them -- and our numbers of lessons are increasing. If you're focused and you rely on God for your support, everything, including your happiness and satisfaction, increases.
The highlight of my week was with our investigator Vincent. He's 18. His older sister is a very active member in our ward, and he has been meeting with the missionaries for a long time now, off and on. However, school has taken over the majority of his young life and he never really gave us the time of day, and was dropped several times. Two Sundays ago was really frustrating because we had had several really powerful lessons with him and he commited to come to church, but when it came right to it he "fong'd" again. He had prepared to go and everything, but when his sister said, "let's go" he got annoyed and said he felt too pressured.
So Elder Ng and I decided there's got to be something more to this, we couldn't understand why coming to church was so hard for him. So instead of preparing a lesson for him, we decided to show up to his humble apartment in Wah Fuh and just listen to him and how he thinks, to see what he needs. We arrived shortly after a lesson with a different investigator, with whom I was pretty frustrated because no matter how rationally I presented to the Gospel to him, he didn't really show any signs of real progression. I had just got done spewing this long-winded explanation about the changing truths of scientific theory and the unsolidified philosophies of men vs. the unchanging and absolute truths of God. It didn't work. He probably didn't even understand me. Haha, in fact I can practically guarantee that.
Vincent began to tell us about his testimony of the Book of Mormon -- he said it made so much more sense than when he was younger and that he understands how it can give direction to his life. His main concern is that now as he is in transition to college, he isn't really sure where to go. He thought he didn't have enough faith to go to church even though he was sure he'd felt the Spirit with us several times. Earlier that day I had prepared one scripture I thought was good for him, but just as I was about to share it, my mind rather suddenly thought "Alma 37". I've heard too many times about how we should follow promptings or sudden whisperings of the Spirit, so in my slight hesitation I decided that this must be one of those moments and went for it. I had him read verses 40-47 about how it is easy to give heed to the word of Christ, and how the way is prepared.
When he finished reading, I felt the Spirit so strongly. I said to him, "It's powerful, isn't it?" He agreed and repeated the part about how the way is prepared for us if we are willing to just follow. We left soon after, not leaving any commitments and telling him we wanted him to make this an individual pursuit -- "no pressure." We said we hoped to see him soon. He came to church the next day and had a wonderful experience.
I learned in that moment that just as it is "easy to give heed to the word of Christ" for investigators of this Gospel, it is easier for me and my success as a missionary to use the Book I preach about. Compared to the lesson I had taught before trying to single-handedly destroy this kid with my own rationalized opinions on why he should listen to us, I spoke very little. I testify to you all that God speaks for Himself. We simply must look to the words and resources he gives us to communicate with Him. I didn't come on a mission to interrupt God, I came to let Him speak more clearly. That was revelation for me in the same moment that it was revelation for Vincent. God guides His servants, and indeed all of His children. And that's who we are.