Tuesday, August 30, 2016

8/29 Moves Calls: My Chinese Family

Dim Sum birthday lunch for C

13 year old K

baptism day

K and his mother

soap cycling

YES! I am staying!! I am going on 10 months in this area, and I couldn't be more excited. These people are my Chinese family, and they treat me well. I love them so much. Elder R is also staying, so it should be another fun transfer. This week has been great! Fun week to see K get baptized and see his mother. He is surprisingly strong for a 13 year old. It has been so much fun to see how far he has come, which I wholly attribute to puberty. Since I have arrived in this area, he has gotten several inches taller, and much, much more heavy. On top of that, he has gotten so much more mature, but he is still a 13 year old. :) He wishes to go on a mission and so does his mother.  An committed to a baptismal date on the 1st of October which is awesome, his Bishop invited him to play the piano at church and he is hooked! He loves it. We finished teaching all the lessons last week, and he has continued to see the sisters in Tsuen Wan, so we should just be here to assist from now on. A-Y is the big news, he finished the Book of Mormon! In 8 months, started when I got here and finished last week. He admitted it was slow and hard at first, but that he enjoyed it more and more as it progressed. The work is progressing. We are working on moving some more investigators into the pool, and it is coming. We have a ton of potentials from the MTR (our finding there has been very successful) and we have seen several once and are waiting to see again. So it has been a good work.

As a companionship, we are working well together. I love Elder R so much! He is amazing. We are both learning a lot and progressing in Christ-like attributes. He, as well, seems to have sworn off English. Been pretty fun. He has always talked about how he feels like his Chinese is terrible when people ask if he understands, so he is just going off. He is a good example. I myself feel like things are going well. I am SO excited to stay and keep working here, help Elder R continue to get to know the ward better, and myself continue to progress those relationships. 

The Zone is going to be experiencing a lot of big changes! It should be good to get some new blood in some of those areas, and I think everyone seems pretty excited to keep working. The zone as a whole seems to be working hard for new investigators and with school starting up, it should be a different ball game. The faith is high and we are going to do it!! I love the faith and the love of these missionaries and their desire for the work. I love them all so much. I love the ward! I love this work! I just never want to lose the feeling I have now. The gospel is true, no matter how many times people try to tell me no, I will keep pushing! We WILL bring the world His truth. My grandpa always told me to not fight it, so I won't. Just give it all.

   Elder Sargent

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

8/22 C.O.N.V.E.R.S.I.O.N.

"The weeks go marching 1 by 1... not hurrah though." I can't believe how fast this transfer has gone. This last week was a good one! Miracles. An went to church with M in Tsuen Wan (apparently all the members just talked to them about eternal families, even the talks at sacrament were on the subject), which is great! It was the first time An has been to a Chinese ward. It probably pushed his Chinese a lot, but sounds like it went well. M was able to see her Bishop from so many years ago and some old friends. So that was a success. K passed his interview, and is gearing up for baptism this Sunday! He is doing super good, just very ready, pretty much a member already. Not too worried about him honestly. Sister Y was there as usual with Chi Yan and her son K. So good! K is super smart, and learns fast. He is almost 8 and is like a little brother. He always leaves his mom and Sister Cheng to come sit with me during church. So now that the members are really getting involved, they are making great steps. The area has quite a few people making great steps right now, but what we are trying to do now is keep the flow coming. We have been really tearing it up on the MTR recently. Elder R has spearheaded the English attack. Haha Talk to them in English first. Seems to work really well actually. We have been getting quite a few numbers and potentials out of it. So the area is flourishing. We are gathering the wheat into the garners. It has still been kind of lacking and a struggle working with ward leaders, some are out of town, the new Elders Quorum Presidency isn't very active, but it's all coming! People are starting to settle back down with school starting again. 
My cool thought that I wanted to share! This week we went to the Wan Chai Wednesday sacrament meeting in English. I will be honest, felt out of place. Our LA requested to go, because he can't get Sunday off and hasn't had the sacrament for years. Anyway, it was a spiritual boost in my mother tongue. One of the Sisters spoke on conversion, that prompted a lot of thought. And this is what came out. C.O.N.V.E.R.S.I.O.N.: C-Confidence in who I am, where I am from and what I am doing. Confident in my leaders and my God. O- Obedience to my sacred covenants, commandments and the mission rules set forth. 100% and with a good attitude. N-Noble, an understanding of my noble birthright and the calling I have to represent the Lord. V- Valiantly standing for what I believe. E-Eternal beings with a beginning and no end. That is the plan set forth. S-Strengthened by the Atonement of Christ. Feeling the forgiveness side as well as the knowledge we will live again (or service, both work..). I-I am loved by my Savior, and I love him too. O- Obligation, the two way pact with the Lord. I will do my part. N-Nothing, and fitting ending. I will leave nothing behind. Nothing can cause me to lose my faith, or my salvation, or my hope for a brighter future. I will leave nothing on the table. That's what conversion is. Almost. I fear sometimes we forget what really is at the center of conversion. R- Repentance. Without repentance, we are left with simple conversion, which has no meaning and leads in no direction. Only with repentance can we experience true conversion. That's my testimony and I want my investigators and family to know it.
I love this gospel!
Thanks for all you do. 
Love Elder Sargent.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

8/15 Cheung Sha Wan is doing well!


Cheung Sha Wan is doing well! This week was a little slower meeting with people, we found ourselves doing a lot of service (helping move the Wan Chai apartment with the office Elders, and soap cycling) , as well had a successful Zone training. K however is doing great! He took us to meet a friend and play basketball for a bit. We sat down after and started sharing a message about God. K is pretty mature for his age, didn't expect his friend to be as well. J, the friend, mentioned that he and some classmates (including K) had argued with their teacher that the Bible didn't seem to be complete and that his teachings had contradictions. Then we shared about the Book of Mormon and how he was right, that the Bible has a lot of truth, but is missing a few things and that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are able to support each other to answer our questions and give us a perfect gospel. He accepted it and in his prayer, prayed that this book would answer his questions. Did I mention they are both 13 years old? What 13 year old thinks about this out of the blue? The Lord is preparing people to hear the fullness of His gospel restored in these the latter days. A is doing great. He is a very amazing fellow shipper. Come to find out he has still kind of got his foot in the door, he told us he misses alcohol and smoking. It reminded me of a good friend who had the same problem. I told him about it, and we discussed that we can't walk away from the door, our old life, unless we take our foot out and not just walk, but run from that door. Just as my friend was eventually able to see. Only then can we have progress. He also got the priesthood and passed the sacrament today! A-Y was also at church yesterday and is doing quite well. He hopes to make his date of the 28th with K.

The area really is doing well, with lots of good potentials, we just need to be better at scheduling, there is a large differences in the weeks we schedule well and the weeks we don't. Able to see a lot more people. We have been doing a lot more sifting recently. Finding new investigators, working and allowing themselves to make ground. It is really helping us find more people capable of progressing right now, as well as letting them use their agency. Several people have just been showing up as far as Less Actives and Investigators, even Bro. Y decided to keep coming to church even though his son left. Big steps in the work. I like what a friend once told me, "The train is moving, not just moving but speeding up. We can't slow it down and we can't speed it up, but what we need to do is get on and get as many others as we can on it!" I believe it.

The Mainland baptism was so cool!!! I got the opportunity to baptize and confirm a Cantonese lady from Mainland (the others were Mandarin so the other Elders couldn't do it) and it was amazing. Again a spiritual uplift with the amazingly humble mainland people. Even though I didn't understand it all (the meeting was in Mandarin), I loved it, and felt the Gift of Tongues teaching me, and helping me to understand. 

Push on! I know Jesus Christ lives. I want to be better and shout out from the MTR that the fullness of the gospel is on the earth! I know this is the true and restored church today. It makes my blood warm and gives me goosebumps. I love it. I love my Savior. This is the fullness of times.

   Elder Sargent

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

8/7 110%

Things are good on the frontier! Things are doing well. A was confirmed today, great blessing from the 1st couselor in the Elders Quorum, he is doing well, as well was called to receive the priesthood. Brother T got his temple recommend today which I am ecstatic for. The members love him, SM just told me how faithful and loving Brother T is and how they love having him in the ward. Best part, he still loves to wear sandals to church with his suit. We talked to SM as well this week (Bishop just barely got back into town this week) about the work, now that he is in the Bishopric and still the Elders Quorum President , it was very effective. Hopefully both A and Brother T will have callings next week.  A has still been leading our Gospel Principles class, just kind of because Brother F asks, but I love it. He is literally one of the elect, as is Brother T. They will both do great things. K is still making leaps and bounds. He called us this week to meet which was awesome. So hopefully we can meet the family and see his mother again. The rest of the area is doing well.  We have two really solid investigators from Mainland that actually keep coming down. They have a family member that's a member that comes to work in the temple, so they have come the last two weeks. Not really sure how to handle that, but the faith!!! They read and prayed every day this week. More of the elect. As for the rest of the area, A-Y is doing well.  Also started a thing every Sunday night/afternoon, eating with those Young Men or YSA who don't have anyone to be with, as well, reading together after (Scriptures and PMG is the goal). The idea behind it being to help these young men keep the Sabbath Day and to continue learning. It went so well last night! The fellowshipping was great, had a great time, even though after talking about 17 Miracles they were adamant we watch that, so we turned it on for them. It was a good turnout and response.
We are striving to continue to find the elect and gather them in the the garners, the stakes and units of the church. Miracles every week. Really working to keep our teaching pool vibrant and moving, teaching repentance and baptizing converts. Then following up and making sure they are at the temple. As well we are starting to work with others in the ward to strengthen them, by using the temple. It's next door to our ward building! We should all be going. It's closer now than it was in Utah, and that's saying something! That is where we find ALL the ordinances of salvation, that and continually going. That's another thing we are working on. I love the work and the joy it brings to all those who partake.
Elder R and I are doing great! We have had some great discussions this week and have really continued to bond. At first it was a really tight upper level relationship, and now I feel like it is a deeper, stronger relationship. I love him so much. We are striving for 110% obedience and facing the mark. No creep.
The zone is doing well, preparing for Zone training this week, Elder P and I will be giving a training on The Ordinances of Salvation, and working with the ward. The zone is very polar right now with areas that are doing very well, and others that are a little slower, and so the idea is that, in the busy areas, there is a downside that it's harder to be with and focus on the members, but in the slower areas, you have that time, which is necessary. So a blanket topic, to help those without a lot, work to strengthen the ward, thus building faith as well as preparing the hearts of the people to do the work. As well at the same time, we will be working with the members developing relationships and finding new people, LA's, referrals and part member families. There's lots to do. So we are looking forward to this week. 
The work is great! The field is white ready to harvest!

   Elder Sargent

Monday, August 1, 2016

8/1 Aaron!

the companionship post full day. 6 lessons, english class and party, and correlation. I was SO emotionally, spiritually and physically dead

Aaron is baptized!!! That is a super bonus of the week. What a week to add to that. I don't know where to start. We had dinner with Aaron this week at the Tsang and Chung families homes. This week seemed moderately slow to start, but picked up very fast at the end. The Sports Night activity has been a hit, as well as our children's English class on Saturday.  It has been garnishing a lot of potential. Both have had much success. Our correlator  wants to get other wards more involved, because we seem to put on a lot of the activities in the area.  
Aaron is doing great. He had 4 friends from mainland at the baptism, unfortunately that will be really hard to follow up on, but hopefully they had a good impression. It was also really cool to see Brother T get the priesthood yesterday, then pass the Sacrament after. He is doing well, but we really need to help him continue to understand the concepts. Not too complicated, but understand their importance. K is doing super well, both he and Aaron have mentioned missions which have been great, because we have been working hard with C doing mission prep. So hopefully we can get Aaron learning some more, and on a mission. K is only 13, so he still has some time. He is quite large, smart, and mature for his age so sometimes I forget how old he is, but he is making great steps, and will be baptized the month or next.  The ward is doing great work with these new members, I am really grateful for all they do. Making them feel welcome and at home. 
Tender Mercy of the week. An, our not fluent in any language investigator from Canada, brought his girlfriend to meet with us this week. Secrets out, she is a LA from like 10 years ago! Not only that, but she is so prepared to come back. At first, she didn't remember much about her baptism, or why she was baptized, but as the discussion progressed, she bore one of the sweetest testimonies I have heard on my mission about how it was all coming back. The feelings she has, and had had in this church. The past 6 years she has just been to a bunch of other churches and none of the others even compare to the feeling she has when she is here. She wants to come back. It was pretty touching. Such a miracle we ran into An. 
Should be another busy week, too many miracles to write. Lots of stuff going down. 
There are always people to share the gospel with, no matter who you are or where you live. Maybe its already a member who is struggling. Find them, and love them back.
I love you all!
Typhoon coming this week, should be fun!
   Elder Sargent

7/25 The Peak

temple visit with visiting youth

Nothing can get me down! Haha This week was a little interesting. Got cancelled on and stood up all week, but hey I think it was just God preparing us for the crazy good week this is going to be. The area is well, A wanted to be baptized this Sunday so he could have some more people there and he feels ready. He is so powerful. We definitely need to continue to strengthen his faith, but he did use the tree of life (with scriptures that we haven't talked about) on some friends that were bashing him and his LessActive friend. I was impressed. As well he has been leading our gospel class the last couple weeks. Should be a lot of fun, the ward really likes him and I think we have 2 cheng outs with him this week at members homes. Brother T should be there as well. Brother C went to Mainland this week, but is doing well. K is making great ground, set a baptismal date in October that he should be able to make easy, I think he is just a little nervous right now. A very mature and large in stature 13 year old. Doing well. The W family wasn't at church unfortunately, but we visited them on Wednesday. They are doing well. Less actives are well, found another this week, as well Dave is doing very well. The area is doing great. 
My personal bit. Elder R shared a quote with me, that hit me pretty good because of the mountain boy I am. "To those who have struggled with them, the mountains reveal beauties that they will not disclose to those who make no effort. That is the reward, the reward the mountains give to effort. And it it because they have so much to give, and give it so lavishly to those who will wrestle with them, that men love the mountains and go back to them again and again. The mountains reserve their choicest gifts for those who stand upon their summits," Sir Francis Young Husband. That's why so few people see it. Effort. We hear tales of peaks that touch the skies in the Himalayas, mountains with secrets untold in the Rockies. We may even see pictures, but until we, "shake off the chains from which we are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust," we cannot arise even to the peaks of which tales are told. Just as any and all things, it is one to hear and another to do. Christ's atonement is full of joy greater that that to be found on any peak, but only to the man who arises to find it. It's the joy inexplicably felt after the wrestle, that makes it worth it. When your reserves of strength are quenched and you feel like you can't move anymore, then you make it to the summit. That last push. That's when we find the ultimate joy. In becoming free. Free from our sins, from all burden. To some, the peaks of mountains are their closest to God, as is the point of remission of sins to the wearied hiker. That feeling, that is what takes us back again and again. When we stand on the summit. That was my revelation piece for this week. Been a good one. 

   Elder Sargent