Encouragement Softens the Heart‏

It has been a week of lots of ups and downs, and I am grateful for every single up and down, simply because the downs in life are truly necessary to make the ups shine brighter.  A life in consistent comfort truly does not bring much satisfaction.

To begin with the down – sickness.  The last time I was sick was after Christmas, when I was hit with the Hand, Foot and Mouth disease virus.  Thankfully, this time, it was not as grave as the last time.  I came down with a cold and fever that left me pretty miserable for about 3 days.  After preparation day last Monday, I decided that running around trying to find and teach was just dreadful, and took Tuesday off to get healthy.  For the first time on my mission, I slept a total of 12 straight hours, and miraculously, I felt a billion times better after.  Well, after the sick episode was over, it came back to the grind. 

Wednesday was transfer day, and I received my new companion – Elder Teh, a Mandarin speaking missionary from Malaysia, who is just coming out of being trained for 2 transfers.  I was really impressed with his ability to speak French, because, even though he has been here for only 3 months, his grammar is decent and his vocabulary is pretty impressive.  I am excited to serve with my new companion, and the cool part is that my old companion, Elder Kwang, remains in the same apartment though he has changed companionships.  I guess that is the perk of being one of the 7 mandarin speaking missionaries in mission of 250 missionaries – there are only so many places we can serve (basically 2 places – Central Paris and Torcy) and so few companions wecan have.  Elder Teh and I got straight to work that evening.  We went out finding and in the space of an hour and a half, we were able to teach 3 people on the road about the gospel, and find a new investigator.  I am grateful that we were able to jumpstart our efforts with a handful of miracles.  It sure put our expectations in a positive gear.

One thing I have definitely learned a lot from this past week is that when we truly begin to instruct and teach with love, the hearts of the people we teach are softened.  As we try to offer helpful loving advise to those we teach, and as we encourage them as they are trying to change, the faith that they have in themselves, and their trust in us increases.  I recalled my favorite coach of all time – Coach See Puay Kheng, who everyone called “Uncle Puay Kheng.”  After a long time of being coached by him, we began to develop a relationship of trust for each other, and a hope for the things that I would be able to accomplish.  I remember that he frequently encouraged me, even while he corrected me.  Whilst recognizing the things I was doing wrong in my technique, he also provided constant guidance as I was trying to correct these errors.  He was like the pair of eagle eyes with the perspective that I needed, and because of him, every practice became enjoyable, and I was even more motivated to push myself.   An investigator that we have been teaching was very much like that.  She had been meeting with the missionaries on and off for a year and a half, and never seemed to progress because she was very much still centered on her old beliefs of God.  However, as we began to help her recognise the relationship that she already had with our Heavenly Father, and the spiritual experiences that she had already received as a result of the correct principles that she already knew, she began to progress really quickly.  Now, she is preparing for baptism in a month’s time and she is moving forward with enthusiasm and great effort.  People just need to be encouraged while being corrected. 
I am grateful for the great life lessons that I am learning on my mission everyday.  The mission is very much a time of personal growth and development, and I am thankful to have come. 

I love our Heavenly Father, and I know that He love us too.

A la prochaine!
Elder Lam


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