Monday, July 3, 2017

June 25, 2017

I don't have time to think about home during the day since we're so busy, always on the go, baptizing people, teaching people, giving trainings, talking with President about missionaries and plans for the City, and on and on. But recently, every night when I lay down to go to sleep I start to feel the imminently approaching future of my family, of BYU, of working, of dating for marriage, etc. I feel excited but nervous at the same time--like butterflies in my stomach. I've become so familiar and comfortable with missionary life--it's a world of its own--that imagining the future of being a normal person in a normal lifestyle is just so strange. I had an interview with President Parker a few days ago and it felt strange after I walked out and realized that the majority of our conversation wasn't missionary work, it wasn't the City Zone, it wasn't anything really mission-related--it was about college and dating girls. We also talked about who could replace me when I die and how important the Atonement of Jesus Christ is as a focus for the remainder of the foundation I've been laying for my life here. Next week I'll attend my last MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) where I'll bear my Leaver's Testimony. Far out, that's crazy. I don't like the feeling of of all these "lasts" but I look forward to the future. I know it'll be great. 
Anyway, here are some updates for the week:
We baptized Pisith ("Pee-sith") from Cambodia. He's here studying agribusiness. His story is really cool: Pisith first met missionaries in Cambodia and attended English Classes the missionaries provided there. He had a few Mormon friends and had gone to church with them a couple times. When he came to Australia, he first met the Elders on Rundle Mall (where we stand holding iPads and contact the people walking past us). I was on Rundle Mall when he was found, but I don't know who originally contacted him. 
Later Elder Pickett and I called a man named "Pisith" from the potential investigators we found on Rundle Mall. We set up an appointment with him over the phone. Later that week we met a man named Pisith on North Terrace (a main street in the city) and invited him to come see the visiting center. He said his name was Pisith and he already had an appointment there next week. Elder Pickett and I looked at each other and nodded with the facial expression of, "Truuue...". Pisith came to his appointment and we taught him the "Godhead and Prayer" lesson we've taught 5 billion times, and it went well. Nothing spectacular or incredible, but it was good. We found out he lived pretty far north of the city and I thought we were going to have to refer him to the missionaries up in his area since the City Branch was only available for Chinese-speaking people if they live outside the City. But Pisith started coming to nearly every activity at the City Branch--family home evening, English Class, Book of Mormon Class, and Church on Sunday. We talked with President Scott and President Parker, and eventually the decision was made that the City Branch would be open to all international students. We taught Pisith the remaining lessons, and due to some circumstances we weren't able to do his baptism interview until the day of his baptism, 30 minutes before it was scheduled to start. He passed with flying colors and was baptized by Shawn (a convert of 3 years) then confirmed the next day by Chris, a recent convert Elder Ruppe and I baptized in January. 
The week leading up to Pisith's baptism was one of the most stressful weeks of my mission: We had done our best to prepare him, but he got lost on the way to the chapel for his baptism interview but thankfully some Elders were on the same bus he was and they escorted him to the chapel. Then his interview was done the day of as we were filling the font. On top of that, our area (North Adelaide) has baptized every single month for the past 6 months, and Pisith was our last hope for the month of June since all our other friends on date had to be postponed. We needed to help bring someone to baptism this month. But he came through. I know Heavenly Father heard my prayers as I was feeling stressed out, asking for Him to help everything work out. And it did. Perfectly.

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