Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bankstown 3 Week 2

It will need to be a short letter this week, I apologize. We are going to move someone into a new house, which is conveniently located right here in our city, so it will be a great opportunity :) This week was awesome! I love everything about here. The people, the location, the ward, the FOOD, the language, and even the rain! :) It has been great. Especially with Elder Ng, he is fantastic and quite a crack up too! His laugh is amazing, I wish I could record it and send it home because it will make anyone laugh haha! So excited for the news and thank you for the package michelle! It was only missing one thing..... a little note. It's funny though because my companion and I both got packages the same day, and neither of us got a note with it. So I guess it was good for companionship unity :) Really this week was great! Going and visiting less actives and people we have not seen in a long time is such a rewarding feeling. We often go out at night to do that because people are more likely to be home, and being out on the streets at night is very scary and intimidating, so to avoid scaring people away, we feel it is smarter to use some time in the car (yes, I have gottten used to driving on the other side of the road haha) and visit those who needs an invitation back. Though we have only been welcomed in once, we have still made great contact with some of them, and allowed people to feel of our love for them. It is great to be able to go and do that more often. I have a great love for people who have stepped away from the church for one reason or another, and in my book, one person reactivated is much more important to Christ, than a new baptism. I feel that I am trying to accomplish the Savior's commission to leave the 99 and find the 1. There is a great amount of work to do here. By day we work mostly on finding new and bringing more into the fold, by night, we go to the rescue to bring them back, and always, always, we are enjoying it :) Love you all so much!!  

My core experience with God this week was being able to come so close in unity with my companion in so short a time. Elder Ng is amazing. We started off really well and each day has just gotten better and better. I had a goal to really become great friends with him by the end of this week, and it has happened! We have become close as we both are striving to be exactly obedient and working hard. The area right now definitely needs to be strengthened in terms of investigators willing to meet with us and baptismal dates, but with several new investigators (and miracles I might add!) we are very confident about setting a new and stronger pattern with people. There have been several people that even though they have big exams coming up, were still willing to meet with us, and after meeting them, I know they have been prepared and are ready. We are excited to implement the baptismal calendars with them and see them carry forward unto Christ. I think the most unique miracle we had this week was Charlene. Walking down the street, I had the thought come to offer her a pass along card right off the bat. She was walking in a hurry and when I spoke to her, she actually jumped back a step and was startled. I offered her the card, she took it but mentioned she was very busy and had to go to class, I took that as a great queue to start a conversation about her school and enjoyed a nice brisk walk with her on the way to the train station. She opened up quite a bit and we were able to set a return appointment and exchanged phone numbers. It was a great experience to have that persistence pay off. 

Another rather funny experience I was able to have this week was in standing up for my beliefs and bearing sincere testimony of the truthfulness of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. There was one man who I contacted who was atheist, and began to ask how I could belief so strongly in the existence of God though I could not see Him. As the discussion continued, he asked, "how can you know that your church is true? for example, there are some people who believe very crazy and ridiculous things." He then mentioned a couple religions I was not familiar with and ended with, "and also the mormons, believing in some buried gold book found by some boy that nobody else saw? How do you know that they aren't correct and you are wrong?" I smiled because I now understood that he had not made the connection when I introduced myself as a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I asked him, "You know that the LDS Church and the mormons are the same, right?" He was definitely shocked and I could tell he was embarrassed for what he had said. I bore my testimony that I did know the Book of Mormon is true and that there are other witnesses of it. I offered to give him a copy and promised him he could know as well. Though he did not accept, I do know that an impression was made upon him. I hope one day to see him again and share with him more about how I know. I find it interesting how I have often felt the Spirit more strongly when testifying and standing up for my beliefs to someone who does not want to listen, than the many times I have born it to those who are interested to learn and listen. After I talk to them, I always can feel the burning in my chest knowing that the things I had declared are true, and I am glad that I can agree with Paul in stating that "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ."
As shared in the story above, I think this week my greatest practice for teaching as Jesus taught, was in bearing testimony.
I look forward to the start of the new missions because I know it will bring great energy and zeal both to the missionaries and the members. Members in the ward here are already talking about all the changes that will happen and how they are excited to see missionary work continue on. I am glad to get to know this new area and work as hard as I can to build up this part of the vineyard. I will admit, church in Cantonese was a humbling experience, as well as being asked to teach the Gospel Principles class. But with fervent prayer, Heavenly Father has provided means for me to understand well enough and to provide words to speak when I open my mouth. They may not always be grammatically correct or pronounced perfectly, but He does provide words to speak. 
I am excited for this week's upcoming Conference, I know it will be a great learning experience. 

Elder Shafer

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