Thursday, August 7, 2008

from Jon 8/7/2008

Subject: Txoj kev sib pauv khub

It's transfer time again and there are some changes in the district. Elder Murdoch is the District Leader, and he is still with Elder Jones in Onalaska. Elder Bowen was sent to St. Paul, and Elder Cooper is still in Winona. I don't remember Elder Cooper's new companion's name. Elder Nielson is now in St. Cloud, and I am still here in La Crosse. My new companion is Elder Niber (I don't know how you spell it). It may actually be Nibourn or Niberg or something, but I heard Niber or Nibar.

I'm hanging out with Elder Cooper today while our old companions make the long drive to Bloomington, and our new companions travel over here. Since we don't really need to be in Bloomington it makes sense for us to stay here and get our preparation day stuff done.

Some exciting miracles this week! We got a call from the branch in Viroqua saying there is a young man there who has been coming to church for a month and even plays the organ for them, and he would like to be baptized. We are going to head down there Saturday morning with the Zone Leaders to teach him all of the lessons in one go and get him interviewed. He is friends with an RM there who has already shared a lot with him and probably taught him everything, so it will mostly be review. Wahoo! Too bad Elder Nielson is leaving...He's pretty put out, but is dealing with it well enough.

We continue to find new investigators, and some of them show real promise! One couple we are teaching hasn’t been to church since they were quite young, and they are not quite young anymore. They are honest, kind people, and they are very simple. It made me realize how vast and great the gospel is, and how hard it must be to jump into it starting from scratch with nothing to build off of. It would be even harder if you didn't have much education at all and never had to really think before in your life. I can see why we are counseled to get as much education as possible. Not only will it get you farther in the world, but it helps you learn how to learn, how to think. Knowledge is an eternal principle, a Christ-like attribute. It is one of the few things we take into the next life, and we cannot be saved without it. Well, there's my tangent; I hope you enjoyed it.

Did I tell you we got a new Ward Mission Leader? He's way fired up. He's ambitious and aggressive (in a good way). We're pretty excited.

Richard is still reading and praying and trying to find out if the BoM is true. He's doing well, but he's been getting really busy and has slowed down on his reading.

People are always watching us. They watch us missionaries as well as all members of the church. Recently we were biking along and noticed some people moving in, so we hopped off our bikes and helped heave a bunch of furniture out of the U-haul, into the house, and up a big, twisty flight of stairs. They were really grateful and invited us over for dinner. Even though they are Lutheran, they agreed to a spiritual thought to follow dinner. Most Lutherans around here act as though they are physically not capable of listening to our message---like they are allergic to it, and I think I may have an idea of the challenges Dad must have had in Germany.

Anyway the cool thing is, later that day as we were heading into some building to use the restroom, a man hailed us from 20-30 feet away and said that he saw us help those people move and he really admired it. He was firm in his faith, but was willing to look at our website because he had seen some of the fruit of our church.

How would it have been if he had seen Elders horsing around and being undignified? What if we had been scowling and grumbling as we performed service? I'm glad we were smiling. We don't do what's right to look good or so people will have a good impression of the church. We do it because that's the kind of person we are, and because that's the kind of person we are, we aren't caught out of character when we are 'offstage'. I think that's what makes an impression of people. Any politician or church (or church leader) knows what people want to see and hear, and they know how to put on the costume, but few actually ARE the character they play. I think people are drawn to honesty, integrity, and sincerity because it's safe. Second tangent complete.

Well, I'd better wrap this up.

May your Skittles be bright, and your yogurt frozen

-Elder Moua Ying

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