Hello friends and family!
It feels unreal that my birthday is in a week. I know all holidays on a mission are very unique and special. I believe it will be no different for a birthday on a mission. There is no where else I would rather spend my 21st birthday!
Well this week there has been a turn of events. Things can change so quickly week to week. Our Chinese investigators are very dedicated to their studies and its that time again for exams. As a result, they all are unwilling to meet with us and have put us on hold for the next couple of weeks. (Nooooo!). I got back from exchanges this week on Friday and we were only at 8 lessons. Our goal for this transfer was to get at least 20 lessons each week. With only 3 days left to get 12 more lessons we definitely went to work. The ironic thing is my personal study the morning we exchanged back I read in Ether 2:16 which reads: ''And the Lord said: Go to work and build.'' These words were recalled to my memory in my moment of despair and it helped me get through the rest of this week. We did end up accomplishing our goal and made it to 20 lessons. I am not sure how much we able to ''build'' this week since the majority of our lessons were on the spot and those on the spot lessons haven't yet produced new investigators. Hopefully this week will be better.
Our recent converts are definitely being tested by Heavenly Father. He is testing their trust in Him and His promises. Sister Merrill and I are planning to help them build their trust in Heavenly Father and their faith in Jesus Christ so in the future they will have the courage and determination to put God first in their lives.
I went on exchange with Sister Finke in Swinton this week. I can relate to their situation and I know how it is to whitewash into an area and have no investigators and to have days filled with basically just finding. I went on this exchange with the determination to help them build their teaching pool. My exchange with Sister Finke was definitely one of my favourite exchanges thus far on my mission. We saw so many miracles and meet and taught so many people! In one day, we found 3 new investigators! It was incredible. The majority of the people we taught on the spot were YSA aged which means I might see these people at the building hopefully sometime soon. One of the biggest miracles is when we were heading back to the flat for the night and Sister Finke had an impression that we needed to get off a couple of stops earlier. We got off and started walking back towards the flat. We ran into this young man named Rob who is a student at Salford Uni. He told us he has a friend from Wales that is a member and that he has been to church a couple of times with him when he was younger. We shared about the Book of Mormon and gave him his own copy. After we prayed with him, out of the corner of my eye I saw a young boy that was maybe 11 or 12, walking towards us. I glanced over at him to find him staring with his jaw dropped as he looked at the Book of Mormon we gave Rob. I didn't understand why he was so surprised but when we said hello he asked if it was a Bible. We told him it was a Book of Mormon and he told us he has been to ''that church'' a couple of times. Sister Finke and I then asked if he wanted his own copy and he told us he already as 2 Book of Mormons at home. Woah, now! We asked if we could come teach his family about the Book of Mormon. He nodded his head and gave us his house address and his mom's name.
Sister Merrill and I have created a creative way to street contact. We call it ''The Look Back Principle.'' It is what it sounds like-- We walk past some one that is usually not YSA aged or not Chinese (since our focus is Chinese YSA) and when we look behind us and see them double take and look back at us, we know we need to run after them to talk to them. This week we tried it and it worked! We walked past this young man who looked back at us. Twice. We ran to catch up to him. When we finally got to him I was out of breath. He looked at us and said ''are you following me?'' haha. I told him with the breath I had that we just had a feeling we needed to talk to him. I asked him if he ever wondered what why he was here on earth. He told us he does everyday. He told us we were wasting our time thought and he wasn't interested in our message. We gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet with our contact info on it anyway. He will be baptized in the near future. I can feel it.
Lately, I have been pleading in my prayer before my personal study for the Lord to teach me by His Spirit. I have been surprised at the timing of when these lessons come, but He has always answered my prayer. Something that clicked in my head this week is what it means to have an eye single to the glory of God. It is hard to duplicate outside of my head but I will try my best. I came to the realization that everyone we meet as missionaries will eventually accept the gospel. It really isn't our accomplishment when we find and teach and baptize investigators ourselves. I understand how insignificant my work is in the grand scheme of it all. Not trying to sound like I feel inferior. It is however humbling. I understand that the success and baptisms I have on my mission are all credited back to the Lord. This is His work. I am just an instrument in His hands. The greatest reward I get out of the work is that I am converting myself each day and that He is able to mold me into the person He knows I can become.
It is time for another transfer planning already? Crazy. I am grateful to have been here in the Man YSA for 3 transfers so far with Sister Merrill too. I am feeling like our work together may not be complete but I know we are both willing to go and do what and where the Lord needs us. I know President will be inspired to put everyone where they are needed this next transfer.
Go see miracles this week :) Love you all!