Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bankstown 3 Week 1

Dear Family and Friends:

My time in the city has come to an end, but I truly am so grateful for the experience it has been, and the experiences I will have here. I thrusted in my sickle with my might there, and truly reaped a great harvest of spiritual experiences, knowledge, and greater love for all people. Now, that harvest continues, just in a different area of the field :)

I love this area already!!!! Elder Ng is an amazing missionary and last night we had the greatest "first night" I could ever imagine. After transfer meeting, Elder Brown and I were given a map and some quick guidelines by a fellow missionary on how to get to our flat. We soon found out though that the missionary had mistakingly told us to go the wrong way. So, we pulled over to take a minute and look at the mapbook for where we were and how we could get to the place we needed to go, which neither of us had ever been anywhere near before. While pulled over, a nice man pulled up and said "you look like a couple of missionaries! Can I help you find something?" He was an answer to our silent prayer. With some correct directions, and a quick lesson I would entitle "How to use a mapbook for dummies" we were able to make it back to the flat without having too much time be lost. When we arrived home, I unloaded the car and grabbed a quick drink before running out the door again to go teach! Just how I like it :) We saw a miracle as we went and visited a former investigator. She also had invited her friend to come that day, and her friend is also interested in learning about why there are so many religions in the world. It was a very new experience for me to teach in someone's home and to teach in Cantonese. But, my core experience with God this week comes from this lesson. Elder Ng and I taught in Cantonese and I understood almost every word that He said!! :) Because they could understand Cantonese, but don't speak it, we taught in Cantonese, and she replied back in Mandarin. It was an amazing experience for me to see how even though I have not had a Cantonese companion for several months, as I continued in my studies, Heavenly Father has blessed me to continue to learn. Elder Ng and I have a great plan for how we can improve our language together that I know will work well. This week, I have really strived harder to speak audible prayers personally. Even though it is a whisper, I have noticed how speaking aloud has helped me to concentrate and not lose track of what I am truly conveying. Unfortunately, I find that when I am tired, I will get into a habit, and have found myself often praying to bless the food when I am crawling into bed. That's when I catch myself and realize.... wow, I need to pay attention. As I have tried to really focus and pray vocally, I have noticed better answers and I feel more in tune. My best practice this week for teaching as Jesus has taught is to always be positive! Often I see how when people do not keep a commitment, or do not meet our the expectations we subconsciously set for them, it is easy to get negative and not keep that positive hope that we need to. In one of our investigators prayers last week, he stated something that really touched me. He said "thank you for helping me to learn with the missionaries, I can see passion in their eyes." I have learned I need to always have that passion and hope for people. They are changing their lives. If they forget to pray a couple times or read a day or two, we should not be harsh or non-feeling. How many of us can truly say we have remembered to always pray, read and attended church every Sunday? Instead, as people feel comfortable to share the truth with us that they have not read what we have asked, we should be positive and hopeful for their future. We should boldly help them understand why it is important, and why we are saddened they didn't do what we have asked, but we can never lose that hope or that passion for them. Though many inconsequential things about serving here are different (having a car, teaching in homes or libraries etc...) I know that the basics and fundamentals of missionary work are the exact same. I am excited to serve here and am thankful for the great opportunity it will be.

As you can see, I have a new companion, and my area is called Bankstown 3. Elder Ng (from Hong Kong)
and I are serving here in the Cantonese branch, and it has already been an amazing experience. He is really helpful for learning and practicing Cantonese with me. He is a great missionary. We have started our 1 day Cantonese, 1 day English, policy that dad encouraged :) So far so good! Yesterday, when driving in the car, I followed all directions correctly in Cantonese, I learned new words, and had lots of opportunities to practice speaking. I love this language!!!! It has truly been great to work with him already. 

It's quite cold in our flat now, and in the internet cafe here too for that matter..... My fingers are freezing, so it is hard to type, but it is well worth it. We had a great first night here. Saw the miracle I talked about in President's email, and also taught another lesson that went really well! Then the fellowshipper, shouted us amazing Chinese food! Hurstville is the true chinatown of Sydney haha, the food here is really authentic and delicious. And EVERYONE here is Chinese :) Great things to come ahead. I will be in the South Mission, and my new Mission President and his wife, also speak Cantonese. I am excited for the future. Please keep Raymond in your prayers. He will be baptized in 2 weeks, and this week we have plans to set more baptismal dates. love you all so much! There also is a really great member that was in my last area who lives 3 minutes away from our flat. He is pretty awesome, and so I am excited he is close by as well. Love you all heaps la! (Cantonese people often add La, a, or ge to the end of their sentences...... haven't figured out all the reasons why yet, but that's what I am trying to mimic :))

Elder Shafer

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