Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday-May 31st 2010

Hello All,
The end of another week here in Bangnaa. Things are going so great! This is the most I've been blessed on my mission.

Over my mission my perspective has really changed a lot. The first few months of my mission, I was concerned about myself. In the MTC and the first month or two in country, my concerns were focused on trying to keep myself alive. After a few months, my perspective changed. I had a rough couple of months that removed all of my focuses on myself and my own abilities and focused entirely on my companion. After awhile, when I became more experienced and more capable, my focus changed to my investigators and my area. As a district leader my focus has become bigger, instead of my own area, my focus has really been changed to the whole district. I really feel a sense of responsibility of the work that gets done in all the areas that I oversee. I am also really glad to report that everything is going great. Numbers are way up and attitude is way up. Every companionship in the district will be seeing baptisms in June and July.

Our vision as a district has really been focused towards what I call a "realbie", as opposed to a "fakebie." All of our efforts have been focused towards finding investigators that WANT to investigate, not that we WANT to investigate. There is a very important difference. This week is my one-year milestone as a missionary. I have seen a lot of stuff; I have worked with a lot of missionaries. I have decided that I don't want to waste anymore time teaching people that won't ever go anywhere. There are thousands of people in Bangnaa that have been prepared, that have been hand-selected by the Lord to hear and accept the gospel. I want to find those people. Through my desire to find people like that, we have been finding them! Simply wanting to "learn about Christianity" is not enough. If people aren't serious from the start, I won't teach them. Spending months and months trying to convince someone to keep commitments is not only a waste of time but it is a disaster waiting to happen. If they have trouble keeping commitments before baptism, then they won't be able to keep covenants after baptism.

There are lots of "key-indicators" as a missionary. We track our work in various ways. The mission keeps track of daily results such as: lessons taught with members present, other lessons, referrals, new investigators, and new potential investigators. The mission also keeps track of various other statistical indicators weekly. This is to help find out how many "potentials" it takes to turn into a baptism. The mission has calculated that 90 new phone numbers or "potentials" will turn into a baptism. While there is a brute-force, quantitative method... I think it is much easier to sort the wheat from the tares since the moment I open up my mouth and talk to them on the street. Working closely with the Spirit really is the key. There is no substitute to working with the Spirit. Anyone who is preparing to serve a mission or who is serving a mission now, I will repeat myself: learn to work with the Spirit.

As a missionary we are called servants of God. I fully believe that a missionary can go two years as a missionary and NEVER have a single day where he was a servant of God. Waking up on time, teaching lessons, even baptizing people does not make someone a servant of God. Studying the scriptures, being a good person, and not drinking coffee also does not make someone a servant of God. These may be good indicators of a servant of God, but they do not define servitude. A servant of God is someone who has a personal relationship with God; someone who knows God's will at any given moment and is willing to do it. The only way we can know God's will is through the Spirit. It is amazing what God will tell us if we ask! I really think most people would be amazed as to how much revelation is waiting for them if they simply asked. It is because of our lack of faith. We fear that we wouldn't receive an answer, so we don't try. I see many missionaries who are teaching investigators and they say "Oh, I don't know if we should keep teaching him. I'm not sure he is progressing." Why not pray to God and ask him! If I want to know if Max is interested, I ask God. If I want to know if I should see Joe today, I ask God! He really answers. This is how we find the elect. God has chosen them, we ask God who they are.

With one year behind me as a missionary and only one year left. I wonder where I will be in another year. I feel like I have changed a lot in the last year. I feel like I have gained a lot of confidence. I have gained a lot of happiness. I am always smiling nowadays for no reason. I really hope that in the next year I can accomplish everything that God has for me and that I can become the person that He wants me to be. Serving a mission is the best thing anyone can do. I have gained so much insight about myself, about people, and about life.


Elder Brown

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