Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sydney Week 24

Yay!!!! :) Such a great week!!!  Read the letter to President Howes to find out why :)

What an exciting week!!! :) 2 people baptized and confirmed this week in our area and 4 in our district! It is truly a great miracle and blessing. My core experience this week with Heavenly Father comes in relation to Jodie. She informed us last weekend that she didn't feel quite ready for her baptism anymore, and wanted more time. We knew that she had some negative pressure from her family members and thought this to be the case. When it came time to plan for the week and our goals, I remember pondering and thinking "I am not giving up on Jodie. We will set the goal to have her be baptized this weekend and do everything in our power to help her." That's what we did. On Tuesday we had a lesson scheduled to meet her. That morning, she texted us saying that she wouldn't be able to make our lesson and would like to maybe meet later this week, not being very specific. I felt as though our chances to meet with her and help her feel encouraged for her baptism were fading. Not wanting to push her or make her feel uncomfortable, we kindly said that we were sad to hear she couldn't meet and tried to set another time for that day or Wednesday at the latest to see her. No response came back. Then a miracle happened! :) While finding, we received a text message from her stating that she really would like to meet with us again that day and asked "is it too late for me to be baptized this weekend?" I was ecstatic! :) The miracle came in the form of her mother. Her Mom (currently a baptist) called Jodie and talked with her about how Jodie needs to make this decision for herself and not allow other members of family or friends to dissuade her from what she believes in. This was what she needed, and with it, all things fell into place. I am so grateful that the Lord works in larger ways than us. We try our best and do all we can, but He truly has a much greater influence and ability to work when we exercise our faith. 
To improve the quality of my letters home and to you, I would like to talk more about miracles as a companionship as well instead of just my experiences since this work truly goes forward two by two. To start, I have found this week Elder Yoshizawa and I continue to grow closer together in brotherhood and friendship. He related to me that he and his last companion didn't get along very well and that he was very glad we did. I too am very grateful that we have great unity and are able to work together in unison. It has been a large adjustment for him to serve here, but we continue to press forward and each day improves. Together we are moving upward and onward and we are trying to achieve the vision that is already in place. I will continue to do my best and be an excellent example to Him as well as continue to find new things that I am able to learn from him and his life. One of these is organization. He is very organized and neat. He helps me to take the time to write a little bit more neatly, plan things effectively, and make sure that all things are organized and handy instead of just organized in my mind like I used to rely upon. I am able to see how we are divinely placed to serve together at this time, and I am grateful to have him as my companion.

So, as you can read, we had 2 baptisms. Sonam and Jodie. Sonam is from India and has lived here for a couple of years. She was invited to come to church by a member named Amisha and loved it from day 1. Jodie was a miracle because this was the 4th time she has had a baptismal date set and we were afraid it once again wouldn't go through. The time was finally right and she is extremely happy she made the choice to become a member of the church and enjoy of the blessings that come from following Jesus Christ. We have 2 more people who are planning on being baptized next month as well. 

One of the things we have really been trying to achieve is seeing people twice a week. We have found this is really the only way that they will continue to learn and grow in faith. Each lesson, we are just very up front and honest with people in explaining that we have seen people best learn and grow in their testimony as we meet them at least twice a week. and thus far it has been very successful. Although people are very busy, they are willing to set aside time as they realize the need to meet often. Also, we continue to have a much greater focus on helping people stay active in the church so that they can continue to enjoy the happiness they felt when they first joined. I often think of Alma as he asks "if ye have experienced a change of heart... can ye feel so now? (Alma 5:26) this is one of my favorite scriptures and helps me understand my role to help all people feel that they are constantly changing their hearts. The reason we need to constantly change for the better is because if we don't we automatically change for the worse. This is the pattern for almost everything in our lives. If we do not work to have good health, we find ourselves having bad health. If we do not work to have a good education, we find ourselves having a bad education, it is the simple law of opposition. If we do not have light, we have darkness, no heat, we have cold and so on. The same is with our lives and our personal desires. If our desires are not constantly changing to become better, they naturally become worse. Of course there may be outlier examples, but i believe this is the case in most situations of life. So, my commitment and invitation for this week to all:

Find one negative desire in your life that you want to change, and then fix it. 

I have to go now, but I love you. Enjoy the pictures! :) That is Jodie's mom next to her. The other new converts are Alia (Italy) Chisato (Japan) and Sonam (India) Such a great night! :)

Elder Shafer

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