Good morning (or evening) everyone!
This week has been a tiring week, but for weird reasons. I think one of the things that people don’t realize about missionary work is the word “work” has a lot of different aspects to it. One of the things that came as a surprise to me when I came out on my mission was how much indoor work is actually involved. In the 16 hours that you are awake everyday, a fair amount of that time is actually spent planning, studying, filling out records and paperwork, and other miscellaneous office work. We had a lot of that this week and to be honest, I’m actually more exhausted from doing that than I am going out and finding people or teaching lessons. The good thing is that I feel tired in a good way. Another thing that I’ve learned is that even though we don’t seem to see the traditional results of our efforts in the form of new people to teacch and baptize, we can take comfort in the fact that when we are doing ANY aspect of missionary work, we are on the Lord’s errand and not wasting our time. So my advice to any new and prospective missionaries out there: When you find out that you have to sit in the house and plan for the entire next week for the next 3 hours, please don’t make you trainer’s job any harder by questioning it or complaining about “wasting time” as you’re planning. It’s a reality of missionary work and the sooner you accept that reality, the easier it’ll be for everyone. At this time, I’d also like to give a shoutout to my trainers and thank them for putting up with my “new missionary who thinks he knows what’s going on” mentality. Sorry for any garbage that I may have given you whenever we had to do indoor work.
But this week has been a very rewarding week (not all the traditional sense. See the above paragraph). Elder Cong and I completed a rough draft of a guideline that’ll standardize how the missionaries in our mission should be filling out the teaching record paper for investigators. That alone took almost a whole day in total because how exact we needed to be in the instructions. The result: a 2 and a half sheets of paper of standardized teaching record. I think I spent more time on that than I did in 10th grade when I had to write a novel for Creative Writing class (that ended being around 25 pages). By the time we finished, I was too tired to feel any sense of personal satisfaction from the effort, which is fine, because it IS still a rough draft, and chances are, the other leaders in the mission will find a way to pick some parts of it that need to be edited. That Lord keeps his missionaries humble😀.
The work has been going great though. Elder Cong and I are still getting along great. This last P-Day we got to go to a war museum and take cool pictures of the stuff there (As a side note, that day, I also got slapped around for no reason by this old Vietnamese man who also spoke English and Russian. His voice was so raspy that it got to the point that I didn’t understand which language he was using as he was hitting me) . I’ll attach some pictures below. We’ve also had an opportunity to meet with a couple more investigators and teach them. I’m happy to say that our unity in teaching as a companionship in English also carries over into Vietnamese, which was a very pleasant experience for the both of us. Speaking of investigators, my investigator down South, Anh Khoa, got baptized this Sunday! Elder Thai was able to perform the ordinance and while I wasn’t able to be there in person, I got to talk to him on the phone for a bit and he was so excited about his baptism. It was a great experience for him and it warmed my heart to know that another one of God’s children has joined the fold. Good times.
Also, in spite of everything that I said in the first paragraph, we actually did manage to find 3 new investigators this week. They are a family who live in our apartment complex and we got to go over to their house and have dinner with them, and then after that share a quick message with them and invite them to learn more. They accepted to do so, so hopefully we can work with them in the future to share these amazing gospel truths with them. The work is steamrolling ahead here in ‘Nam. Baptisms are occurring every week and I see a lot of the light of Christ and the strength of testimony in these new converts. They truly are an inspiration for me, as someone who has grown up in the church and is guilty of taking it for granted more often than not in my life. These new converts are so lucky because they can actually see and feel the change occuring in their lives as they learn more.
(pictures: word list to learn this week)
It’s a real privilege for us as the missionaries to be the one’s who are trusted to share the knowledge, truth, and light with them and help to introduce and guide that change. For anyone that has not yet experienced this for themselves, I would invite you to get in contact with your local LDS missionaries or your LDS friends and learn more. Maybe your life is already good, but I promise there will be something in the words that are shared with you that will build upon what you already know in ways that you never knew were possible, and if you let it, that knowledge can change YOUR life in ways that only God can conceive. As one of his representatives, that’s I promise I give that I KNOW that God will deliver on. Try Him and see.