We were surprised with 2 early baptisms this week - Myla and Jona! Myla will have to go back to the Phillipines for a month in a couple weeks, so if she was baptized on her original date she would not have been able to stay the next week for her confirmation. So she said, "Well why can't I be baptized this week?" So we said, "Well why don't we ask our Mission President?" So she said, "Go ahead!" And then that's what President Hawks said also. So we went ahead and baptized her. Jona got her holiday this week, so she thought she'd step into the font also. Their baptism went very smoothly, and they were both so happy. Pictures attached - Myla is the one with the baby.
The whole mission has been really focused on increasing faith again, and President Hawks has reissued an updated version of the "drawing on the powers of Heaven" paper that he gave to the mission back when I was serving with Elder Farnsworth in Hung Shui Kiu. That was probably my busiest and most effective time in Chinese work, when we baptized Sister Yip and Soso (who by the way is active in a new ward at the same chapel that I attend every sunday, so it's super good to see him progressing in the gospel well after his baptism), and I'm excited to report that the same energy that came from the focus on faith back then is rekindling again.
Elder Ford and I have been really focusing on rooting out any bad little habit or ineffective thing that hinders our ability to be exactly obedient so that we can warrant more blessings from the Lord in finding prepared investigators to teach. Obedience to God is what manifests our faith in Him, and we recognize that God will be wary of even the small things that we do to express our faith. On Wednesday we decided that after the Sacrament service we'd go finding in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay because we knew that a lot of International people liked to gather there. Dinner was scheduled at6pm, and at around 5:45 we stopped without any success and we were trying to decide if we should take the MTR back to Wan Chai for dinner. I felt like we needed to circle the park one more time, and Elder Ford agreed, so we set off again. Just before we had rounded the final stretch of the park, I glanced in passing at a couple sitting on a bench. They didn't seem particularly friendly and I wasn't sure where they were from, so we kept walking. Almost as soon as I decided to keep walking, I felt an impression that I shouldn't give up that easy and go back and talk. Then I thought it would be awkward to walk back after passing, so I walked some more. Then the feeling got really strong, and my thoughts formed into the beautifully crafted statement: "That was a husband and wife from the Phillipines. Go talk to them." I stopped and looked at Elder Ford and said, "Do you know where that couple was from?" "That one on the bench? I'm not sure." "..." "Do you feel like we should talk to them?" "Yeah." So I decided to be obedient to my feeling instead of my fear of awkwardness and we approached them. Jerry and Roena are from the Phillipines. They invited us to sit down with them. They both work in Hong Kong. We gave them both a Book of Mormon. They said they'd come to church with us next Wednesday. And that was that. I learned yet again the importance of following the Spirit. I know that the intensity of the spiritual impression to go talk to that family was in direct proportion to my desire with Elder Ford to be obedient and to pray faithfully for families.
Don't be obedient to fear. Don't be obedient to what others say or what your mind creates as a worst-case scenario. Don't even be obedient simply to your good intentions, which often times have lots of room for error. If something is right, then do it. Be obedient to the Holy Spirit. He will never lead us astray.