Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week #36: HOME! – March 14, 2017 – March 20, 2017

Sister Vranes in Ipoh
Guess where I am?? I'm currently back Ipoh!! We're just staying for today and tomorrow for a Zone Meeting, where we will be trained more on missionary work. This week, we traveled to KL for Zone Conference with President Simmons, and Elder Evans (in the Asia Area Presidency). The Spirit was so strong with Elder Evans, and he is truly inspiring. We talked a lot about our missionary purpose, and setting goals to achieve this work. Before we left, my District Leader, Elder Barney, gave a short training on setting SMART goals. Is it specific? Is it measurable? Is it attainable? Is it realistic? Is it timely? I also learned, the difference between attainable and realistic. Attainable refers to you, are you doing everything in your power to achieve the goal? Realistic refers to the situation. When we arrived back into our area, we were so inspired and motivated to start making SMART goals. This has truly improved our work in our area and has helped us focus. I know for sure each one of us has goals for ourselves. Now, the next step is to make the plan. Try using the SMART goals technique :)

Exchanges in Kuala Lumpur
One miracle this week was visiting some less active members. There are a couple of less active families I have been really working with each week since I had arrived in Penang (over 6 months ago). As we've been visiting them, they have been gaining their own testimonies and slowly coming back to church. This week, however, was a miracle for me, to see them be willing to say the closing prayer with us! This is such a small miracle, but has great meaning behind it. It means they are willing to reach out to God, they are willing to show their faith, and they are willing to progress. It's these silver lining moments that are small, but seem to make everything worth it!

Sometimes, we get so caught up in having large miracles. We hear stories, and we expect to have those same miracles. In the end, we realize it's the little miracles--the silver lining moments. This helps us to have hope and joy. This week, I'm starting to learn that joy only comes when you successfully defeat Satan, each and every day. Every day is that constant battle against Satan. When you spend a single day not fighting, that's when you are allowing yourself to be defeated. This battle could be the fight against losing a temper. Perhaps it's the fight against wanting to do something you know is not right. Perhaps it's the fight against a negative thought. Whatever the fight is, remember that there is hope and joy that comes by having a loving Heavenly Father and the Savior, Jesus Christ, who are helping aid you in this battle.

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Eating a coconut.
Week #35: Coconuts are NOT Brown… - March 7, 2017 – March 13, 2017

This week I had my first coconut! It turns out, they are not brown, but actually green. I learned that brown ones are dead ones, and taste disgusting. First, you drink the juice of the coconut, which is actually pretty sweet, but not as sweet as watermelons. Next, you chop it open and eat the meat. That's right, coconuts have meat (which is the white stuff inside the coconuts). The Penang missionaries always joke that it's the only meat I can actually eat! :/

Anyway, this week we celebrated the Relief Society's birthday, had a Branch baptism, and celebrated my companions birthday! At the Relief Society party, we got to know each other with speed-meeting (it's like speed dating, but not). Afterwards, we got to witness the baptism of one of our 8 year old Branch members, who made promises with God, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was beautiful, and we were so happy to see a young, faithful member make the promises and enjoy the blessings of following the covenant path of the gospel. 
Celebrating Sister Shafer's Birthday

This week, I've been studying the topic, "I Am a Child of God" by Donald L. Hallstrom. This is one of the most important concepts we teach in the church. We teach this to the children when they can first start talking. It is fundamental, basic, and an invaluable piece of knowledge. Think of that. What does it mean to you to be a child of God? What does it mean to have a LOVING Heavenly Father? How does that make you feel? Because I am a child of God, I can do______________. When you find the answers to those questions, don't ever forget them. Write them down. This basic truth will take you farther in life than you could ever imagine.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

U.S. Pizza in Malaysia
Week #34: Canadians!! – February 28, 2017 – March 6, 2017
This week we went to the Butterfly Farm and ran into a Canadian man who was a member of the church. He invited us to meet his family and to come to his home. Crazily, he was a refugee from Sri Lanka, and the only member in his family. He had been visiting Malaysia for a month because his brother in law got married and they decided to have their wedding randomly in Malaysia. He then went on to have us call them. 3 sets of missionaries in Vancouver, Canada! It was an interesting experience to say the least! The next day, we had just finished eating dinner when we ran into a group of Chinese Canadians on a cruise tour. We said we were from Utah and they yelled, "The Mormons!" Only the Canadians would recognize who we are! I don't know what's up with Penang, but it's been a very fun and weird week. Canadians!!

Our "solid" investagator dropped us...
One miracle this week was the Book of Mormon. We've been working a lot with a member who is less active. Previously, they had gotten baptized by a senior couple years ago, because the senior couple said it was true, so they thought it must be true. As we've been reading the Book of Mormon with them, they have been gaining their own personal testimony. Recently, their work schedule changed so they were unable to attend church. We met them at the church, and through their efforts, they have started to gain a testimony of reading The Book of Mormon, even though they have missed church! It showed me the power The Book of Mormon has to grow and maintain faith. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, "If The Book of Mormon had legs, we wouldn't need missionaries!" I know that is true. The Book of Mormon has power beyond belief to convert hearts and grow faith. This book is the word of God. It testifies of God throughout all of its pages. Stay close to The Book of Mormon!
Morning Exercises

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Week #33 – My First Time in East!! - February 21, 2017 – February 27, 2017

This week was my first time stepping foot in East Malaysia! We did exchanges with the STL's (Sister Training Leaders) in Kota Kinabalu where we were able to learn how we can become better missionaries. So far, I had only heard about East Malaysia and how it is a totally different country all together. Let me tell you, they're right! I spent three days there. The people hardly speak English, the food is also delicious (because it's Malaysia!), and the sights are beautiful! (sorry no pictures this week, they won't upload.)

Anyway, upon our return, we had to pick up our area again, but there has been miracle galore! First, we caught our plane home this time. Another miracle was, we were able to find 5 new investigators by the end of the week. Our last miracle was during church. We were going to watch an Asia Stake Conference Broadcast, but the power went out. Many people were unsure of what to do at first. However, we were still able to keep the Spirit and, in fact, bring it stronger than before by playing hymns and bearing testimony. Those simple things were powerful beyond measure! Hymns are the words of the soul, sung in praise to the Lord. Testimony are the experiences that teach truths, revealed to us so we may bless others. So today, I invite you to sing hymns and bear testimony. I know that through this, you WILL have the Spirit with you today. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.