"My core experience with God this week was definitely the recent convert fireside (newly renamed Stake devotional). Noy, and Jogky Vayakone spoke. It was so special to have 2 sisters there speaking about their conversions with only about a year between their baptisms. The Spirit was definitely there and our investigators present really felt the Spirit as they both spoke about how happy their parents were for the change that they had made in their lives. It really hit me in the meeting at how large of an impact one person can make. To explain, Noy said that her parents had really hoped she would change from her past for quite a while, and when they heard she had been baptized, even though they don't fully understand what baptism is, they were extremely glad that she had changed from her past, and can see the happiness it has brought into her life. All of our hearts were touched as Jogky explained that growing up all she wanted was to have a dinner together as a family, this wasn't available to them past the age of 12 because they had to live several hundred miles away from their parents. When she related this experience, it increased my appreciation for my family, and how we are sealed as an eternal unit. I know that their family can one day be the same, and that Jogky and Noy's example are extremely influential in this process. I am humbled by the circumstances in which people come from and their easiness to have faith and remain humble even in their afflictions. Reading the Book of Mormon has once again reminded me at how quickly we can turn inward and become prideful, yet there are so many people I am able to meet each and everyday which truly choose to be humble no matter their circumstances, and keep faith in the Savior.
One of the things we will be doing this week to help a young man who is questioning whether or not to serve a mission will actually happen tonight. We are going to have dinner with him and bear our testimony of why we came on a mission and help him to feel the wonderful effects it has had on our lives. He is a wonderful young man and would make an exceptional missionary, thus we feel we should continue to support him in his growing desire to serve a mission.
It has been such a fast week but an amazing one for sure. Looking at our planners for this week, we will be having at least 7 people we will be inviting to be baptized. That is only the ones we have planned now, with the many miracles we see and the couple times we feel prompted to mention baptism on the street or at activities, I am sure we will be having more baptismal dates up and coming. The work continues to press forward and Elder Dade and I are both excited for the future! I hope you have a great week, and I look forward to our training on Friday. See you then!"
I don't have my journal with me, so It will be hard to go by and give an accounting of this whole week, but some highlights-
-I passed my driving test, so I can now drive here in Australia if I ever have to leave the city ( I hope and pray I serve here my whole mission, but I know the chances of that are basically 0%)
-We have heaps of new Japanese investigators, but unfortunately not a single person speaks Japanese in the branch, so..... we learn to speak very slowly :) It is interesting though that right when the Japanese speaking Elder gets transferred, heaps of Japanese people start coming to activities and are curious about the church. We have 2 investigators that we meet with together and one of them has to translate for the other one haha! But it all works out okay in the end :)
- We had an amazing lesson with Danny which has been investigating the church for over half a year without any real progress. Up until the lesson last yesterday, he would never explain why he didnt want to get baptized, and then would continue to dodge our lessons. So it was hard to meet with him and progress, but due to a miracle which happened yesterday, Elder Dade and I were able to meet with him and help him understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ better. He still feels that he has "done too many bad things" in his life to qualify for baptism. I cant describe exactly how he feels, but we continued to help him understand that there is no sin he could have committed to make him exempt. I think there was a large step in progress for him. He now has hope in his life and we will continue to help him grow that hope into true happiness.
-I figured out how to cook THE BEST spring roles :) last night, we came back to the flat and after planning I started to cook some frozen spring roles. When they were done, I gave a plate to Elder Elder (honestly, his last name is elder :)) and Elder Imeson. Elder Imeson turns to me and just says "oh, I love you Elder Shafer, these are the best!" I laughed pretty hard, but honestly, they are delicious!
Yeah, that's all that I can think of now that was out of the ordinary and unique that I wanted to share. Today we had the opportunity to go to the temple and it was a great experience as always. Such peace and calm there! I am so grateful and lucky to be a missionary out here. Honestly, the amount of people I am able to meet and the lives I am able to have a small change for the better in is extraordinary. Missionary work continues to surprise me at how enjoyable it is even though it is always a trial. I have a greater understanding as to the reality that service brings joy. I was just thinking the other day about how as missionaries, we are called to be full-time servants, volunteers, teachers etc, but also we are called to be full time friends. So many people here and everywhere in the world just need a friendly hand. I have been able to see that more and more. Part of the reason I believe people become attached to missionaries who serve is because they find that those missionaries are true friends they may not have had before. we often get too caught up in ourselves and what we need to do and neglect to look out just a little more. Often it only takes one phone call, one question, or one smile and joke shared in order to change someone's day. I have learned this week a greater appreciation for humor. Laughing is definitely an essential part of life. I know that I haven't always been the funniest person, but I have found that I can crack an occasional joke or two that gets people laughing. Doing this has had a great effect while here. For example, one member named Daisy recently had an ultimate crisis. She had a family emergency in which she had to book a flight very short notice back home to Vietnam. After she had payed the plane ticket, she tried to withdraw more funds that evening and found that her back account had nothing in it. She had to board a flight the next day with the news that someone had hacked her account and she had no money. Needless to say, she was very distraught with things that were happening in her life. I felt prompted when she was about to leave to just give her a call. As I stood on the balcony of the city just listening, I was grateful that I had the ability to change the conversation with a couple simple jokes. I don't remember what i said, but it was what she needed to hear because by the end of the phone call she says "thank you for calling Elder Shafer, I feel better now. I am grateful that you are serving here and talk to me even though I am technically not in your area of responsibility (all the missionaries have different recent converts they are assigned to keep tabs on and to help out since there are so many in the city). So my message for the week, find a time to make someone laugh! In almost all situations I can think of, when there is nothing you can do to resolve or benefit the problem, making the person laugh has an instant effect to help lift their spirits and give them hope.
Love you all heaps and I will write you again next week!