Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week 5

 Hello Everyone

The weeks go by fast in the mission field! My new companions are great, I learn a lot from them. Since neither of us know the area very well, we have been doing tons of finding. We spent about 7 hours one day just GQing, and door knocking. We got about 100 contacts, it was physically hard though! 
Sorry, I sent the email without finishing.


Right now we are teaching a brother named Steven. We got him as a referral. He is really interested in the gospel and believes it can help him in his life. We taught him the Plan of Salvation, and he understood it well. Since being a new missionary, my teaching skills aren't that great, but I really enjoy learning from my companions and the ways they go about teaching.

Our branch has only been established for a year, and is still growing in number and faith. I am so grateful to our President Song. He is always finding ways to improve the branch. He has a genuine love for its members. He sacrifices so much of his time dedicated to serving the members. Right now, we are trying to help members do missionary work. We have been visiting members to see how their goals are coming along. So far so good. We really hope this is the key for the branch to thrive on it's own. One of the members is Nadia. She has a miraculous story. When she was eight, she was diagnosed with a disease that prevents her kidneys from working. She is in her 20's now. The doctors told her that if she didn't get a transplant she wouldn't live much longer. At this time, she didn't really have faith in God, but one night she just prayed to Heavenly Father asking Him for a kidney. That night she got a call from her doctor to get to the hospital immediately for a transplant. She had only been on the waiting list for about 2 years. It is the shortest time anyone has waited to receive a kidney. That was a sign for her and for me that God really does answer prayers and is watching over all of us. In my life, I have experienced answers to my prayers, and I know that He really is there and loves us. He is watching over us through our tough times. He knows us and through the Atonement we can feel His love for us. I know I am where I'm supposed to be, and this is the Lords work!

See you all next week!

Elder Westbrook

img: Our branch after fast-breaker and FHE

Week 4

Hello Everyone!

I got two new companions this week, Elder Fackrell and Elder Liao; they are both great Elders I am learning lots and meeting a lot of great people GQing. We haven't had many lessons this week. We are starting to work mainly with the members. I feel the bus stop isn't as effective as other things we can try. Our companionship has been trying new things. We are going to door-knock more often and go to another bus stop. 

This past district meeting, we discussed ways for members to do missionary work - the easy way.
Here's a brief explanation. Every member can apply this to their lives

     1. Live the Gospel. 
Living the Gospel is the base. If you aren't living the gospel, then you won't be an effective missionary. You will need to live the gospel to set an example to others.

     2. Open the door 
You open the door when you put yourself in situations where people can ask you about why you are the way you are. Simple example: You can ask people what they are doing this weekend, when they return the question, you can tell them you are going to sacrament meeting. They ask you what that is, you tell them, and then you invite them. The door is now open. Whether they walk through it is up to them. 

     3. Pray to Heavenly Father to send people through the door.
As you live the gospel, you will have a desire to share this with others. Pray to Heavenly Father to put you in situations like these. I know he will answer your prayers if you have a desire and real intent.

Sorry this email is so short, but I hope all of you can learn from these 3 steps. We will be teaching these to members this week and I hope we can make a difference in other peoples lives!

Love Elder Westbrook

PS: Library closed for Easter so can't send out email on Pday

Week 3

(sorry I got kicked off my computer before I could sent it)

Hello Everyone!

This week was awesome! We had some lessons but we mostly went GQing. We found two Aussies to teach but will soon refer them to the English speaking missionaries. 

Humphrey, our investigator got baptized this Saturday. He is a solid guy, and has a strong testimony of the gospel. A speaker taught us that baptism is just the beginning of our eternal journey. I never really thought about baptism that way before; It is so true though. We are excited to teach him about the priesthood. Since we are so low on priesthood holders, we need more faithful members to run the branch instead of the missionaries. We are also excited that he can help us with member-present lessons. It really does make a difference to the investigator to know that he has friends aside from the missionaries.

We have a lot to do in our branch. Mainly to strengthen the members. Many of them get baptized then become less-active after they come back from China. We are figuring out ways to strengthen their faith while they are in China. We have come up with many ideas, but still have yet to test them out. One member, Amy, is a good example. She went back to China, but she just read the Book of Mormon and prayed each day, and came back with a stronger testimony. It is such a simple thing to do, but we just need to help the members understand how important it is in maintaining their faith. Our second counselor, Diego, is a solid member. He is really busy during the week, but always offers to help us. I can tell he has a true desire to help the people of the SunnyBank Branch.

We were blessed so much this week. We have been praying for more family investigators to strengthen our branch. Then we get 2 referrals for families that are really interested in our church. One of them is the Wu family and the other Xiao. Both of them have kids about 1-2 in age like Diego. We are really excited for Diego to fellowship them. Brother Xiao's name is Xiao Liang. His wife and his kid is in Africa and has been apart from them for three weeks. In our lesson tonight, we are going to use that to compare him with Heavenly Father and how He loves us and wants us to talk to him. It will be a great lesson!

See you all next week!

Elder Westbrook