Thursday, March 31, 2016

3/30 Finding, and changes coming

Been an amazing week and a half, we have seen so much! Miracles, spiritually uplifting experiences and success! Elder Da is doing great and his jaw is doing fine, we both had priesthood blessings this week. I don't know what happened to me on Sunday, but I felt like I had a hot iron put right through my head. Never had a migraine that bad. Got better after a little priesthood power. As well, Elder Da has been sick and had quite a bit of pain from sickness and a kinked neck. So he chose to have one on Monday. So the health level isn't the greatest ( I have also lost 10 lbs this week). So it has been interesting. 

Miracles! After a failed attempt to visit a Less Active that we haven't seen for a while, we decided to sit down and pray as to where to go for finding, knowing the Lord would provide. An exact location came to mind, and after discussion of our thoughts, we left not knowing who or where we would find him, but both felt there was someone to be found. After traveling and looking around in the area where we felt we needed to be, we found an unusual amount of people willing to talk for our 30 minute finding block, but still hadn't found the one that gave me the right feeling. Then we had to go, and started walking, and we both saw him! A-K, sitting on a bench. 26 years old and time to spare. Elder Da and I both looked at each other, and split him from behind. He had no idea we were coming until we were sitting on both sides of him. Then we went to work, taught the Restoration and 1/2 the Plan of Salvation.  He didn't want us to leave when we did, he was almost literally begging us to call him back. We left so humbled, in that we did what we were supposed to, when sometimes we forget, and look what happened. Met an extremely prepared individual, not like the rest of the people his age group. The Lord's hand is in our work every day. 
I am quite excited about all the new changes that are coming: the new Language Evaluations and numbers schedule. I feel as though things will work much more smooth. I have enjoyed the time I have had to really think about how to improve the situation. 

The Zone is well, preparing for the next Zone Training and trying to decide what to teach. Elder Da and I are very excited for a plan we have set in to teach Elders Quorum, assimilating in a small ward missionary handbook (the ward missionaries and correlator love the idea and were quite pressing to get it done faster), and then using the wards role, played and honed teaching skills to go on a ward find, and utilizing the members to be the missionaries. After much pondering on retention and new investigators and discussing with several members of the ward I have come to the conclusion, specific to culture, that most people will be much more receptive to a native. So allowing the members to find the people, then schedule them and sit with them. SO many of our members have such a big desire, but just don't know what to do. I feel this is the way it is supposed to be. Allow the members to develop the relationship. I feel too much is just separation of the ward and the missionaries. We should be just assisting, there is too much separation and then let off when new converts join the Church leaving a large gray area where we lose many converts. It can't happen that way. So I left out a lot of details, but I am excited for it and can't wait to see the unity it brings our ward and the success that follows. 
Love you all!

   Elder Sargent

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

3/21 Translation and Lions Rock

Things are doing so well. Elder Da and I are loving it. Things picked up at the end of this week for sure. Have 3 really solid investigators with several others that we have been working with for a while. Should have 2 baptisms this upcoming month and another soon after. Really excited about how things are going. E is a newer investigator that is deciding a day in May. He very well could get baptized sooner, but is scared of the speed of things. He is amazing and I love him! He is 25, met the sisters in Yuen Long and they turned him over. He is already great friends with the ward and can really see what this Gospel has to give to him. As well, Mr. P is doing very well, progressing and we are starting to see a lot of progress in the area, both in investigators and member work. We are teaching Elders Quorum in two weeks and are quite excited about that. All things are really clicking together. The area is doing great and on the move to beyond that. My prayers are being answered and the Lord is blessing us so much! We are so happy. We hiked Lions Rock last week which was so fun, saw a ton of super funny monkeys. 

Thought I would add a point I don't think I have mentioned that is a hard point to get past with people. I hear of many investigators in different places getting 'antied'... I have come to appreciate our investigators more when I come to realize that most people are pre 'antied' here. A little history piece: When the Book of Mormon first came to Hong Kong, the translation was (MO)(Muhn)(Ging) three characters for a sound translation (sorry can't think how to say that word in english), but if you read the characters and its meaning, it translates to (Devil)(Door)(scripture). So most people think we are a Chehgauu! Or Cult... haha. Since then, in the 90's or so, the Church redid the name to a different character for (Mo) and added a (yi) to Moyihmuhnging. So we face a lot of opposition trying to overcome that problem. Makes me really appreciate these people. 
However, this does not get us down and we fight over this. So many are still willing to open their heart. It's a testimony that no matter what the adversary does, the Lord prevails and prepares people to hear the message.

Sorry not a lot of time today! Love you all!
Elder Sargent

Monday, March 14, 2016

3/14 Finished Language Pass-off's

Cheung Sha Wan is doing very well. This last week was tough to find people to teach. Several (3) of our less actives had number changes so haven't been able to contact them this week. As well had a couple investigators travel this week or were quite busy. So we tried to make the best of our time, found a couple good potentials and visited with a couple members. So the area feels great and has a lot of solid people, but we are working on trying to have other people moving up the line to become progressing investigators. Our largest struggle this week with investigators is getting them to come to church. Really need them to! Several have been taught almost all we have to teach and have no problems, and keep saying they will come to church, even have baptismal dates, but just don't come. Really just trying to discern what to do through the Spirit of what to do. 

My experience for the week that changed me the most was after an interesting lesson with a new investigator. He really had strong opinions about the Bible and his current church. I think my way of thinking during the lesson was not the way Christ would have done it. Just tried to prove everything, and in all reality, it was kind of just like a Bible bash. Elder Da stayed quite quiet the whole time as I was moderately frustrated that he didn't give us a chance to speak. We left and he mentioned that I looked a little frustrated. After walking a small distance, he said or more exclaimed, "Elder Sargent, we didn't testify!" I couldn't be frustrated with the investigator or anyone but myself after that. I messed up the situation, a lesson could have had a completely different outcome if I would have had the simplicity to testify. That's what Elder Stevenson talked about. Funny enough, that was the topic of our Elders Quorum lesson yesterday. Simplicity and testimony. No one can deny our simple testimony and nothing will carry the Spirit more in a situation like that. It is a lesson I won't forget for the rest of my mission. All at the hands of my trusty companion. 
Seeing miracles like crazy!!! Loving the work. On one note, I finished language pass-offs this week!! What a relief. Wow. 13 lessons and 3 memorizations. Now I can help poor Elder S administer them. They are so fun and I am actually learning so much from having other missionaries teach me. Still have to wait 2 more months to learn characters, but hey that's no big deal. 
Family, people from the 435 and 801, take every chance you can to testify. It reinforces our testimony and can change the lives of all those around us. 
I am in good health, love hearing about the good weather! We had a cool front hit us here in HK. Canto is doing better and English is doing worse.
Love you folks
Elder Sargent

Monday, March 7, 2016

3/7 Big Week

Things have been great this week! It has been an absolute crazy 7 days to say the least. Running from one thing to the next. Our investigators are progressing well, and we picked up three more younger men (20+) that all have a lot of potential and should all have baptismal dates by the end of the week. Mr. Ch, PJG, and E are their names, two came to church on Sunday. Brother PJG almost got baptized a year ago, but had problems and ended up in the hospital the same time as they white washed the area, but ran into the Mandarin sisters in our area and they gave us his number! Looks like we should have some good fun with them. Brother Chow is doing ok, we are trying to stay on our previous investigators, but several just haven't been keeping commitments and are having a hard time progressing. It's hard to know what to do. I want to keep teaching them, but there is so much to do. Our area, as far as the work, is doing amazing! Loving the people and working hard! The Sisters as well are having immense success.
MLC, meeting with President L, meeting Brother T (Stake High Councilman) , and Zone Training have kept Elder S and I very busy this week. Our poor companions have been with each other on exchange every day (however, I think it is really helping Elder C's English, and has helped Elder Da's Chinese immensely), but switching companions has been great. Elder S has been sick (puking all over), and several missionaries have needed blessings. We also administered to the Sister's investigator and her mom at the last minute last week. It has been an amazing week to see the power of the priesthood at work. 
As for the Kowloon Zone, things are looking very well! We are on track for our goal of 500 lessons, several companionship's down from the normal, and others picked it up! Should be right on. The goal of 100 new investigators is going to take some work. I was quite surprised when that was the exact total of how many our Zone thought we could do. Hopefully will be able to see some fruits of the labors in finding and CIFTing some of these new people. I enjoyed having the Celestial Tree up, it is a very condensed version of a diagram we drew up (look at the picture). I feel we sometimes cut ourselves short by just shooting for baptisms and skipping all the stuff that gets us there. Wish we could have explained our thoughts a little more clearly at the training, but nonetheless, thought it went well and had a lot of good feedback. The topic of our last zone conference. CIFT (quality Contact, Invite, Follow up, Teach) with the analogy of panning for gold and finding those that are prepared to hear the gospel. As well with an emphasis on The Celestial tree. Haha a very simplified version on a diagram I came up with of how people get to glory. Have to start at  the roots. Take a look Things are looking up, the Lord is sustaining us! 
Love you all!!!
Elder Sargent