Monday, March 11, 2013

An Opportunity to Repent

March 11, 2013
It's been another busy week as Elder Woo and I have prayed and searched for new investigators on the streets of Chai Wan. Moves happened this week, and the other Chai Wan companionship had a change, and Elder Parker from Anaheim, California came in. I didn't know how fluently I spoke Californian until he came in and reminded me that what I thought was funny actually was.
I suppose one of the difficulties out here is actually being willing enough to recognize that people actually are busy. You just want to say, "Hey man, you don't get how awesome this is! Get over the fact that a white kid wearing a suit is spewing rapidfire whisps of truth in your native language, and listen to how your family can be together forever!" But I gotta give it to them, people really do have a lot to do. And I suppose that's the tricky part in stopping them briefly to talk. We're limited to talking to people on the street because all the tower estates are closed off by guards and we aren't allowed to knock on doors. Most of the people on the street are out because they need to buy groceries or go to work, so it takes a lot of faith to issue out power statements at people and hope it gives them a bit of incentive to listen for a moment.
However, one day this week I managed twice to get a young mother to give me her complete address (the only way into the estate). We've rescheduled both of them, which made the miracle of it even more exciting -- Elder Woo blurted "Chi sin!" (crazy) when I got them, telling me how rare it is for people to give their address, especially on the Island. We're still working hard for new investigators, and I know the rather frequent full-day street finding efforts will soon begin to pay off.
Maybe it's just because the situation is current, but I feel as though I haven't prayed harder for an investigator than I have for Francis. This week as I prepared with Elder Woo to teach him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I decided that what we really needed to do was just focus on repentence and focus on how it relates to obedience to God's commandments. I really liked what the first page of this month's ensign says: "We aren't obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see." I have seen the truth of that principle with greater clarity as I've served the Lord out here, and I felt that teaching Francis about keeping the Sabbath day holy would be a way of helping him gain a testimony by living the gospel. We ended up having a 2 hour long discussion because we had discovered the night before that he got a new part-time job on sunday. He kept telling us that it wasn't because he didn't want to come to church, but rather that he had some things he needed to take care of. After a long discussion about having the faith to keep the sabbath day holy, I said, "How about we just pray together right now." It was a bit noisy because a random, ridiculously fit couple was practicing kung fu right in front of us, so we said we'd walk up the stairs to the little overlook point and pray on it like Nephi prayed on the mountain. As we sat there and patiently waited for him to pray, he said, "You guys don't understand. ... When I was younger, I was a really bad person... I gambled a lot of money on horse racing. When my family found out, they were really upset. I need another job because I need to get myself out of debt. It's not that I want to do it, but I have to. Even when I tried to stop gambling, sometimes I'd go back to it just because I hoped it'd help. It didn't." He then began to cry and said, "I haven't even told my best friends about this. But I'm so grateful that I ran into you guys last month in Shau Kei Wan. I've been really bad and I've been wanting to change, but since I've met you both I've realized that God really cares about me, and is giving me an opportunity to repent."
I know that God has led us to meet his prepared children, one by one. When we keep the Lord's commandments, are faithful, and serve our fellow man, I know that people will recognize the light that accompanies the truth of the Gospel. This is His work, and these are His children, and I am His servant, and I thank Him for it every single day.
Love, Elder Hazen

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