Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bankstown 3 Week 11

Something new and unexpected is happening! President invited me into his office Friday morning before District Training meeting, and said "Elder Shafer, I have a new assignment for you." I started sweating and swallowed nervously.... I already had 2 missionaries I was training in a struggling little branch where I barely even speak the language and much less understand the culture, have to watch over my district which has 6 missionaries who have been in their new areas for less than a month, and now, what more do you want from me?! hahaha, No this didn't quite go through my head, but it was a shock. Then he asked if I would go and be a zone leader in Canberra ( 3.5 hours south) because the zone leader down there has to go home for medical recovery. Whoa!! I seriously just laughed for a second or two and then realized he was serious. Then of course I accepted and the thoughts kept coming that made this situation all the more crazy! But I think Elder Lam's and Elder Bartholomew's faces were even better when President told them I was leaving and that Elder Lam would now train Elder Bartholomew hahaha! Oh the Lord gives us some great suprises in life sometimes :)

I have to go home and pack now because I will be leaving the flat by 5pm, but I will attach President's letter as well as part of my letter to Adam.

This last week in Hurstville has been so great! Especially Yesterday at Sacrament meeting. It was such a reward and tender mercy for me to see many less actives who I have been working for and trying to bring back come. We had the most people that I had ever seen attend Sacrament! Although not nearly as many investigators as we had planned for were able to come, many less actives which were unexpected came! It was the largest Sunday School class and Sacrament meeting I have seen since being here and it truly was a great last goodbye as I know that I will be leaving today. The Lord always knows our desires and blesses us with tender mercies often. I am so grateful that He loves and cares about me. We had a great opportunity on Saturday evening to go and have dinner with a less active family. The mother and 1 daughter are less active while her husband is not a member yet. The youngest and active daughter invited us to dinner and it was a great success! Our first desire was to have investigators come to Chester's baptism, but when all invitations came back in the negative, we planned for the dinner. The lesson was focused in gratitude and displaying our gratitude through prayer. Since our branch here does not have home teaching or visiting teaching, we wanted to try and share the home teaching message with the less active members that we visit. We have found that this has been very successful! More people are willing to let us in when we show them that we have a message prepared from The Ensign. I think it may be less intimidating to them, and so far it has worked out well. We shared the message and they committed to pray daily and express gratitude for their blessings. We then continued to keep the conversation focused on missionary work (a member and his wife were there and so we kept asking them questions about when they were on their missions) and at the end, the nonmember husband, the less active daughter, and the less active mother said they would see us the next day at church. and..... THEY CAME! :) seeing them walk through the doors of the church for the first time since I have been here and probably for the first time in months previous was so great! Although it wasn't planned, the closing hymn "God be with you till we meet again." was great as well since it is one of my favorites, and as we were singing I was really pondering on how quickly these last 10 weeks have gone and how I truly have tried to help this branch so much. It has been great to know that I have left his area better than I found it. Though I did not witness any baptisms while here, there are now 3 investigators whom the Lord has prepared and who have committed to be baptised this month. It has been great to serve here. 

This week I have studied more about chapter 8 in how to be more organized and use time more wisely. I know as a zone leader, I will need to have this chapter mastered and in use daily. I have gone through again the area book and my planner to make sure that all things are up to date and I am using every apsect of these useful tools to the best of my ability. Though I was not very organized before my mission, I continue to improve in my organization here, and I am seeing how useful it is!

It took a while to get the branch up and running, but now we have 3 baptismal dates for this next month and a much better teaching pool. I really feel that this work has also been very different, but although I won't see any baptisms here, I know that I thrust in my sickle and did what I was meant to do.

That's about it for now. All in all, as you also know, missionary work is THE BEST!!!! I love these people so much! I never thought I would meet so many people from so many different countries. I have taught lessons to people from over 20 different countries as of now! That's pretty crazy in my opinion, I never thought I would have done that. From China to Laos, to Thailand, to France, to Germany, to Taiwan, US, Au, Brazil, and many other places, like Croatia! Where in the world is that haha? and Macau? Luckily I had a world map to look at because I had no idea where these people were from. I met one of the members from the very first Stake organized in Rwanda as well! That was awesome!

Love you all!

Elder Shafer

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