Tuesday, May 23, 2017

December 11, 2016: Life in the City Zone

This past week was my first one in the City Zone. The actual "city" part of Adelaide is the central area where most people come to shop or work. Imagine the crowds on a holiday walking around on the Las Vegas strip, and that's what it feels like to walk around here. My companion is Elder Ruppe, and we're the city zone leaders. Just one year ago, the city was a single area with just two missionaries. Now, the city is a zone of 18 missionaries, half Elders and half Sisters. 
We have a teaching center here (Mom: I'm sure there are some pictures of it on Sister Parker's blog), which is an office space with multiple teaching rooms and gospel displays, set up with iPads to show videos. 
What we do in the city: 
We talk with a massive amount of people each day, mostly Chinese, who come here for university. (In most areas, it's important to talk with everyone, but here we choose them out of the crowd, based on our impressions from the Spirit. Those who are humble and teachable are those we seek to find). 
It's incredible to share the gospel with the Chinese and see how even without any exposure to God, they come to feel the Spirit when they learn the truth. President Parker will likely assign several companionships to study Mandarin in the near future. 
Recent Miracle:
About 6 months ago my companions and I were teaching a man in his 20s from Vietnam, named Duy (pronounced "zoy"). We had taught him for ages with little success, and we eventually got pretty frustrated. Duy believed in Tao, which essentially claims that all religions hold spiritual truth, and Tao is "the root of all spiritual truth". Duy explained that all religions had truth to them, and his belief was that we need to take all the true elements from each religion and combine them into one. We had many lessons teaching him how we will be resurrected, not reincarnated, etc. etc. He stopped making progress in our lessons, but he started occasionally attending sacrament meeting with us.
After I was transferred, the Elders eventually stopped teaching him. Duy met new missionaries in the city a short while later (a couple months ago), and he had a couple lessons there. One day, Duy called the missionaries who had dropped him, and they started teaching him again. The Elders told me Duy had changed when they started teaching him again, and he began accepting everything they taught. The Elders got the members very involved with Duy, and just a few weeks ago, he was baptized.
A couple days ago, I met Duy in the city for the first time since I had taught him (many months ago). He looked like the happiest man on earth; his smile lit up the whole street, and just looking at him, I could feel the Spirit. His countenance had changed: he looked so confident, clean, and happy.
I had the chance to talk with him for a short time, and he is doing fantastic. Duy has a strong bond with the missionaries and the members in his ward, and he has a testimony of his own. Honestly, the greatest reward of missionary work is seeing people feel pure joy. When I saw the transformation in Duy through his countenance and the beaming smile on his face, there's nothing that could make me happier. Our joy is multiplied when we see other people gain the same joy we have.

Our Brother, Duy

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