Sunday, January 20, 2013

Senior and Training; Outcomes of Our Faith

Big news this week.
The Hawk swooped in last night. Aka, President Hawks called Elder Farnsworth and I, to tell us that next move we'll both be training new missionaries. We pick them up on Thursday. President Hawks was pretty straight with me on the phone as he asked me if I was ready to go senior and to train, and said to me, "Elder Hazen, none of what I say is due to a lack of confidence in you, but you are a pretty young missionary to be training. With the incoming of many new younger missionaries, I'm going to have to start having Trainers be younger and younger, and it just so works out this time that I'm going you need you to start that off. Now, this is really important, are you listening closely? You must always remember that as a senior and a trainer you must be humble enough to follow the promptings of the Spirit and listen to your companion. The AP's will call you on Wednesday to tell you the time you need to pick up your trainee, and if you have any questions, give me a call. Have a good night."
With both of us training, that's going to push one of us out of Hung Shui Kiu, meaning that wherever the new companionship goes they'll both be new to the area, and thus whitewash it clean, neither missionary having any background with the members, places to find, or investigators. Whoever stays in Hung Shui Kiu will be the District Leader as well. Either way, I've just been given a lot of responsibility. After the call, I couldn't help but shake a little bit at the excitement and the fear of such sudden responsibility. But I know that to train a new missionary is a sacred trust from the Lord, and that it makes a huge impact on the future of the mission. I'm grateful that I have the responsibility, and I may or may not be scared out of my mind, but it's fine. Both the convenient AND the challenging thing is that there are currently no american missionaries coming to Hong Kong. They are all either native or chinese people from another country. I pray that I'll have both the linguistic and spiritual capacity to make a difference with my new companion.
I will miss Elder Farnsworth a lot. In the beginning of our companionship 3 moves ago, I think it's safe to admit now that we actually had some trouble getting along. As time went on, we began to see that nearly all of our differences were trivial and of little to no import, and as we both, being obedient and desirous to do as the Lord willed, humbled ourselves enough to see greatness in each other. Now as I look to the future, I'm actually a little scared of not being his companion, because we were able to influence so many people to come closer to Christ, both members and investigators. Many of the members comment on our companionship, saying we work wonders together and one couple said they'd been members of the church for over 30 years, but our companionship inspired them to become better ward missionaries and examples to their families and friends, to whom for so long they'd been hushed about how they feel and what they believe. Most of all, I've learned what it really means to increase my faith and be obedient to God in all things. Elder Farnsworth has always been a very powerful example of that, and as I go on and begin to lead in the mission, much of what I learned from him will set a pattern for how I choose to lead and bless the lives of others.
The family that I mentioned last week, the M. family, is doing well. Within less than a week we have visited their home twice and taught them and given them baptismal dates for March 10th. Sister M. and her son attended church this week, but because Brother M. wasn't feeling well (cancer) he stayed at home. I'd been hoping my whole mission to have a family to teach, and Elder Farnsworth and I had prayed every day that'd we find and teach families. I know it is because we believed it would happen and did everything we could to achieve it that we made it happen.
We were supposed to have a baptism yesterday with a couple that I have never mentioned -- K.and A.  Searching for the truth, they found our church distribution center in Kowloon Tong and bought themselves a triple combination, and shortly called the missionaries thereafter. The Tin Shui Wai Elders taught them all the lessons, but then it turned out they actually lived in our area. Over the past month and a half, we've been meeting with them. Yesterday was the 2nd time they had extended their baptismal date due to family issues and timing.
I think the important thing to remember about faith is that the outcome does not define it's worth. The diligence, the hard work, the trust, and the obedience; those things that naturally will and must accompany the faith that we exhibit in the Lord are what make the difference. The fruits of our faith that emerge as it is being exercised are often more profound than the end result itself, no matter how magnifiscent it may be.
We found and taught and gave baptismal dates to an entire family. This was a blessing that came as a direct answer from our very direct petitions to Heavenly Father. We also plead with Heavenly Father that we'd see K and A get baptized, and we searched for them to the very last possible minute to try and make it happen. But it didn't.
The outcomes are not always what we expect. I doubt that any martyr in history of himself intended the final outcome of his faith would be to be burned at the stake, crucified, starved, tarred and feathered or shot point-blank. Yet, would any dare suggest that the immense faith they manifest in the Lord was useless?
As far as I can tell, it's the faith of those kind of men that inspire us the most, and continue to bless generation after generation. I know that although K and A did not get baptized this week, when the Lord has seen their faith sufficiently tried and overcome, they'll be ready at some soon future time to enter into that eternal covenant with Him. And I have no regrets, because we did everything possible to see that we fulfilled our purpose. We did not give up on them, and will still not give up on them. And in the process of exerting all mental displine to believe that God would provide, even with the unexpected outcome my faith has increased. To rest assured that the will of the Lord was done and that we did everything we possibly could is a much more peaceful feeling than to have faced the outcome with the guilt that there was something more we could have done, or that our faith was not sufficient to receive God's blessing. It was enough. God Himself made that known to me.
He will, according to your faith and your consistency in following His will, answer your prayers as well. I know it is true. He answers mine daily.
Elder Hazen

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