Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bankstown 3 Week 5

Hello family!!

What an awesome week and especially weekend! We had the special opportunity to be involved in a stake "mini mission." Each elder or sister had a new companion (or some of the sisters had 3 new companions for a short time) to which they were assigned. We picked them up every morning at 7am starting on Friday. Had breakfast at the church, studied there, and then at 10 am until 9pm we were out doing our normal missionary routine! It was a very new but awesome experience. We did this for 3 days and then at the end we had a fireside meeting in which each mini missionary had a couple minutes to express their thoughts and feelings. The most common theme was "I never knew how hard missionary work is." But most of those who said this also stated right afterwards how much they enjoyed it. My favorite experience is Elder Tait's I will try to remember his words as accurately as possible, he said something similar to:

"I was companions with Elder Balenaivaukau (he had to try 3 times to pronounce it correctly :)) I learned 3 main things through my mini mission :1) Walking is hard. 2) This area has a lot of hills 3) Missionary work is so enjoyable!.
 I never knew how difficult missionary work is. My companion and I spent most of saturday walking up and down hills trying to contact and teach Less Active and Part-member families. None of them were home or would let us in. I remember in the middle of the day just feeling exhausted and wanted to give up. Then I looked over at my companion who had the same expression the whole day. A small smile and looking as if he was not tired at all! I thought originally it was probably because he is a rugby player ( he was on the national rugby team for Fiji before his mission) But it inspired me to be better. So we kept walking and had little luck all that day, but I truly began to just love the work. When we did have success, it was worth all the walking."

I really like how this mini missionaries attitude was changed and also how he rose to the occasion instead of giving up like he had mentioned he wanted to do. He inspired me to make sure I was always being the kind of missionary that when my companion needs an uplifting smile and a look of energy, I can give it. 

I will let my weekly letter talk about some of our experiences with my companion over the weekend:

This week was quite a great one! Although we had several of our most progressing investigators drop us because of either family opposition or moving to another house, we know that the Lord has a plan for them and that we can continue to rise up and build up our area here. This weekend was such a great experience. Being able to have mini missionaries with us for 3 days was such a blessing and was so enjoyable! The greatest miracle, for me, was when I heard Elder Malolo (my mini missionary companion, 16 years of age) stand up and bear his testimony that he now wanted to go on a mission. Our first day together He said he was not sure if he wanted to or not. So, trying as hard as I could to allow him to have a great experience, we went out and experienced as many areas of missionary work as we could in those couple days. We performed service for a nonmember, we tracted houses, contacted people on the street, taught investigators, member families, YSA's and had a great experience at a branch activity. With every new experience he was quite shy, but with a little time and work, he felt great accomplishment. I think my favorite experience was in tracting with him. He was scared to death when I first invited him to start the conversation. After a quick "Hello, we are missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, We have a message of Jesus Christ we would like to share with you." the person said they were not interested and shut the door gently. That was probably a miracle, no doors were slammed on us during tracting, only a lot of "no, thank you's." But after the door was shut, he sighed so big I thought he had been holding his breath for an hour! :) This one experience though helped him to continue to open his mouth and steadily he became more comfortable. When we finally were accepted into someone's house ( I tried a unique strategy- to ask if I could use someone's bathroom- which allowed us to step into their home and My companion was able to talk with them, and then we could switch) he was very ready to start talking and had a great conversation with the Husband. They were very nice and welcomed us to come back anytime and even thanked us for dropping by to use their restroom! It was quite a successful miracle in my opinion. 
Another great experience this week was in the branch activity on Saturday night. Our branch is quite small as you know and so we were quite worried that there were be few in attendance, but to our grateful surprise, more people showed up to it than we normally have at sacrament meeting! There were less actives I had not met, nonmember spouses who came with the rest of their family, and also some friends of members who all seemed to have a great time. One of the potential investigators even asked Elder Ng what she would have to do in order to get baptized!! It was such a great event and we now have several people we can follow up with and experiences we can share together with them to help them either come back into activity, or join the church. What's more is that I think the members really enjoyed this activity and were spiritually uplifted by it, and so the next activity we have will likely be even better since this one was such a success. I really do love this little branch. It is great to have the opportunity to help where help is needed so badly. There are many things to do, and few hands available to do them, so I wish I could grow more because I really have a desire for this branch to grow and flourish. I know it has great potential and I want to help that be achieved. 

One area of missionary work I forgot to mention we got into was our car breaking down haha! I accidentally left the lights on (we are required to always drive with our lights on because if you get in an accident, and your head lights are on, automatically, 10% of the blame shifts to the other party, and thus can save you quite a pretty penny..... cool fact given to us by our fleet elders who deal with car issues for the whole mission) and so we got back to our car when we needed to go to a dinner apt and it wouldnt turn over. Fleet ( the 2 elders assigned to take care of the temporal needs of missionaries, so we can fully focus on proselyting- Car problems, bike problems, flat repairs, etc)  was an hr away, so they couldn't give us a jump, and no other missionary vehicles have jumper cables, so we had to tract until someone had cables haha! Luckily it was only 2 houses, but it was a great opportunity to receive of some help and talk to them. The person who actually gave us a jump waved us away right when we got out of the car an hour previous. We saw him outside and went to say hello but he just waved us on and wouldnt let us come up. But I guess Heavenly Father really wanted us to at least talk to him. He still didn't even take our number in case he ever needed help, but that's okay. He will still be blessed for Helping out the Lord's servants, so that is good! 

Well my time is about up, but it really was a pretty good week! Unfortunately Jason, when he talked to his parents about his desire to be baptized, his mom got very angry and though his father supported him, she did not. We met with him one more time because he still really wants to learn from us, but he said that he will have to take a break from lessons since his parents are paying for him to attend uni here and he needs to respect their views. I really hope his mother's heart will be softened with time, because he has changed so much! In his last text he was really grateful and mentioned "Thanks for all that you have taught me, you really have helped me to get a great start in my relationship with God." 

There are so many wonderful people here that are like this. They have the seed planted and it is growing, but the growth is temporarily hindered by close friends or acquaintances. nevertheless, I know that one day things will all work out. The Lord always has plans in motion to allow everyone the opportunity to receive the gospel, even if the first opportunity doesn't work out, there will be another one in the future.

Love you all!

Elder Shafer

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