You know you have had a busy week when you look at your planner at the end of the week and see it filled with many scribbles of appointments, scriptures, notes on members and new French words learnt during lessons.
This week, I had the chance to have 2 more exchanges – one with Elder Humphrey, and the other with his companion, Elder Cox. Elders Cox and Humphrey are the equipe (companionship) that live in my apartment. We had the chance to meet lots of people those 2 days, and do a lot of contacting. One of the lessons we had was with an ami named Musabah, a 50 year old man from Palestine. Elder Cox first taught him 2 weeks ago and he had been searching for the gospel for a long time. He loved Jesus Christ and knew how important the gospel was for his family. It was his final lesson before he would have his baptismal interview with the District Leader. During this lesson, he explained that his daughter had just been sent to the hospital, and that there was nothing that he could do to help her except pray that she was alright. Because of the circumstances that she was in, he knew that he had to rely on the Lord at this time. He was a great example of faith and love to me and I will always remember the closing prayer, because it was one of the most sincere prayers I had ever heard in my entire mission here. Simple but filled with sincere gratitude.
This week, I also had the chance to attend a wedding. My DMP (Ward Mission Leader) got married and we were invited to a beautiful reception at the church. My mind turned back to the time when my own sister had the wedding reception in Singapore and my family invited the missionaries to attend. To think that was 6 months ago. Time flies.
Today, our transfers came out… Elder Hall will be heading to another Ville, where he will train a new bleu missionary who arrives tomorrow. I will remain here in Evry, and get a new companion who will take me through my 2nd/final transfer of training. In mission terms, this means my “father” will leave me and I am getting a “step-father.” 6 weeks with Elder Hall has definitely been a wonderful experience of spiritual and physical growth.
Elder Hall taught me to never be afraid to dive into the deep-end, because sometimes, you might just surprise yourself at how much you are actually able to cope. From Week 1, Elder Hall never failed to turn to me during a contact and just let me bear my testimony, using whatever French I could muster. Because of that, I am now confident enough to Talk with Anyone and Everyone in French. Of course, there are times when words fly over the top of my head (au-dessus de ma tait), but I can now understand most of the conversation. I have also learnt that there is great joy in being a missionary as we exercise pure faith and learn to recognize the miracles. Everyday, I head out of the apartment, excited and ready to put my shoulder to the wheel, and as I have gone about doing things with faith, the miracles have come. Yes, I mentioned physical growth too. No one walks as fast as Elder Hall does. Many, many times, I have found my shins tight as a rock as we raced from appointment to appointment. I thought I would never feel the same aches in my shins as I did when I would do hour-long sets of sprint Breaststroke Kicking in swimming training, I guess I was wrong. Phew! Now, 6 weeks later, walking fast is just the norm. Running from appointment to appointment? Yep, did that twice this week. So, mum and dad, don’t worry, I am keeping fit here. And I guess when they give you a mission trainer, it might also mean physical trainer too.
Well, it has been wonderful serving with Elder Hall. He has been an inspiration and an example to me in many ways. This Ville of Evry, as normal as it may seem on the outside, is filled with incredible experiences, and I am glad to have had a fulfilling transfer with Elder Hall.
Lastly, a little anecdote on Patience. Before I left the MTC, my instructor, Frère Smith shared a few of his mission proverbs with us – short phrases that summed up lessons that he learnt during his mission. One of them was that “God is a 4th Watch God,” meaning that the God usually comes in the last moments of distress. I have come to learn well during my short time here on my mission that this is true. Often times, we have to struggle for a while before we receive the help that we need because there are great lessons learnt in the moments of difficulty. Our faith grows, our confidence in the Lord and in ourselves increase, and we begin to recognize the little ways that we can be more grateful. We have to “put our back into it” and really desire to be better, to be humble enough to receive help, and most importantly, to be willing to change.
I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us and wants us to be happy. This life is meant to be a period of happiness, and I know that as we seek guidance each day, we will receive the help we need in the Lord’s time.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. The Book of Mormon is the Word of God.
Be thou an Example.
Elder Parker Lam