Sunday, March 24, 2013

3/24/13 Misssion updates

I wont answer back individually because you all asked so many questions- especially about the Mission, so I'll try to answer them all, and tell you a little about my life this week.

Our Mission is expecting 10,000 Malay Book of Mormon's soon.  There has never been a Malay translation of the Book of Mormon before, and they have been using Indonesian Book of Mormons which are similar enough to Malay to get across major doctrinal ideas.  Our Mission President challenged us to pass out 1 Book of Mormon each week in preparation for this influx of materials.  Even though we are Chinese speaking Elders and don't pass out Malay copies of the Book of Mormon, the invitation was extended to us as well.  This last week we were able to do so every day except for Saturday! :D

Elder Gerrit Gong from the Quorum of the Seventy came this Friday-Sunday for a tour of our Mission and also for District Conference in Miri.  It was such a wonderful experience.  During Mission conference, Elder Gong met each of us individually and shook our hands.  He and his wife (who is American) can both speak incredible Chinese, which I found out when his wife began to speak to Elder Chong in Chinese, scaring him.  When they spoke with me, they both really liked the fact that my name was "Elder White" in Chinese.  They are both fantastic.  Elder Gong spoke on how we are agents, not people to be acted on.  We must act before God can help us.  I really liked what he said, but mostly how he said it- looking every one in the eye, and making sure it was a personal experience.  We also role-played the Atonement-- teaching it--- and then we role played the First Vision and baptismal invitation. Elder Gong asked Elder Chong and I to teach him and his wife in Chinese.  That was a neat experience, because I can now say I invited a General Authority to be baptized! :D

Saturday was the Adult session of District Conference.  I was asked to translate a talk that our Chinese Group LEader would be giving, so Elder Chong and I translated it from Chinese into English, and then when he spoke I read out the English.  I think it was a fairly good job although he did skip around due to time, I was able to keep up with him--- then on Sunday I ended up translating about 1 hour of the Conference session because the member who was supposed to wasn't familiar with enough church terms, so I wore Malay-Englsih translation headphones, and then translated from English-Chinese, which made it a really rough translation- It would have been a lot better if it was Chinese-English, but at least some of the message came through.  This morning we found out transfer news when the Zone Leaders called us and told us Elder Chong will be serving in Sibu with Elder Alex Harper.  That was terible news for me because I love Elder Chong so much!

This week we were able to meet with a wonderful investigator who makes teaching easy because of her intelligence.  She is gone for two weeks working off shore (which means on a platform somewhere in the ocean) though, so we haven't been able to meet with her since then.  We are working with a Less-Active family as well and are seeing progress "line-upon line, precept upon precept."  Life is great in general.  Miri is a pretty small town- much smaller than Mesa,AZ.  It has a lot of Chinese people though, and my Chinese has improved a lot since being with Elder Chong.  I still am not very good at characters, but I am working on improving my vocabulary right now, and found an invaluable- Taiwan Mission Phase Vocabulary list to help me out.  My goal is to learn 30 new words a day, but I often fall short of that.  My hope is to very rapidly increase my listening comprehension, and gradually my speaking ability with the vocabulary I learn.

The theme of District Conference was "hold to the rod." There were so many good talks about how the scriptures and hymns that we listen to, truly do help us came closer to God, help us in challenging moments, and help us keep strong and focussed in our efforts to endure to the end. 

I want you all to know that I love you! I am excited for this opportunity to serve the Lord! (They are starting to do transfers every 6 weeks now. so the next transfers will be May 9th.  FYI).

Family, are you all reading the scriptures individually? Are you Clutching, cleaving, snatching onto the word of the Lord every day?  Lets make it as a family! :D

Love, Elder Black