Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 61 - Kudekat Padamu, Ya Allah Ku" (Nearer My God to Thee) Playing the Piano, and the Work is on Fire!

Man where do I even start!?!?! This week has just been am absolute blessing. There have been so many miracles and blessings that it is impossible for just one person to enjoy!!! Maybe just a short story of what brings joy to missionaries will do to begin.

One night, my companion and I were on the angkot home (little bus type things that are decked out with lights and music and anything you can think of) when a girl that looked no older than 19 hopped on. She was looking and reading our nametags. When I saw the look on her face, it was one of devastation, sadness, and anything to do with that. I immediately just had the impression to start a conversation with her. To be honest, the conversation didn't really focus on anything super Gospel related other than we had a special message and that we teach an English class. We talked for the 10-minute ride back and she just had the biggest smile the whole time that someone would go out of their way just to talk to her. We didn't get any contact information, but we know that we had done a good deed! :)

As you have all anticipated, the father of the miracle was baptized!!!!!! It was such an awesome thing to be a part of. On Tuesday he was interviewed and to be honest we wanted to push the baptism back just so that he could be baptized with his family but he told us no that he wants to be baptized first. We went back on Thursday night and went over some last few things. We ended the lesson by singing "Kudekat Padamu, Ya Allah Ku" (Nearer My God to Thee). Tears were flowing the whole song from his eyes and the spirit was just so strong and touching the hearts of everybody. He was baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday along with the wonderful Sisters that were baptized last week. MIRACLES!!! The kids of the miracle family are ready to also be baptized so we are working with them to hopefully see that happen in the next little while.

This past week we found a new investigator that just moved here from an island close to the Philippines. We taught him the Restoration and when we went back had the impression to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We gave him the baptismal commitment and he accepted!! We have only met him twice!! He came to church yesterday and it was just another miracle and blessing!!!!

This is a little personal miracle for me but while we were waiting for the meeting with the Branch mission leader I had a little time to sit at the piano and play a little! To be honest it was a blast and I was able to play a lot more than I thought I could actually play and to still have a little bit of this talent left and to realize I almost threw it away had me thinking about the parable of the talents. I realized that this talent is God given and if I want more, I have to develop the ones I already have. Music is awesome!!

The package and the letter from Kaitlyn showed up!! I am so very thankful that I was able to receive those. The Elders and myself have been enjoying every little bit of it!! 

The time is flying by and the church and the work has caught on fire here in Manado! The Lord has big things planned for this place and I get to be one of his instruments in making it happen!!

I love you all!

Elder Hayes

P.s. apparently there was a small volcano that erupted so we woke up Sunday morning to a hazy morning with a little volcanic was awesome!!! :) 

Bro. A and his daughter

Inside of an angkot with Tv's and Captain America and what not (our transportation here in Manado)

It is my companion's birthday today, so he got the cultural eggs and water bright and early :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 60 - Great Things in Manado! A Happy Reunion, Faith in the Gospel Changes People's Lives

Sweet pics! Looks like a few big things are going on! While big things are going on there, big things are going on here! Sister N and Sister L were baptized yesterday! They had the biggest smile on their faces coming out of the salty ocean water! If you don't remember, we received their names from their mom who lives in Malaysia over Facebook. It goes to show how technology can be used for the progressing of the work. It was a blessing to teach and learn with them and I look forward to more learning and teaching so that they can go on to make more covenants later on in life.

Here's a small story about faith. Our miracle family has just been taking everything gospel related in and just absorbing it. They aren't missing one beat of anything! On Saturday night, the 19-year old son who will be getting baptized with his father this Saturday, got into a small motorcycle accident. Although small, it was enough to stay in bed a little longer. The father, who has already had a stroke, half of his body is working, traveled the distance to church with his 16-year old daughter who will be baptized in a couple weeks by her brother or father when they receive the Aaronic Priesthood. They were offered a ride home from church early because as you may know, transportation is very hard here. They both turned it down and said they would find their own solution to get home just so they could stay at church! It was so amazing to just witness that!! Their faith has increased and the Gospel has changed their lives! They are amazing!

Jakarta was awesome! I was able to meet some of the other missionaries from my MTC group that I have yet to meet and spend Monday night working with them! It was so cool just to see how much we had grown and our abilities now compared to when we first started! It was nice. We talked about our mission and how last year as a mission we baptized 142 people and this year we are expecting to surpass that. We set some more goals and just talked about through our obedience will achieve this. It's been a few years since this mission has seen over 200 baptisms!! Talking about that just gets me pumped because I know there is great things in store for us!!

I wish Max a farewell but also a welcome to the World's best army! I know that he will do great things and I eagerly wait to hear about others that are leaving on their missions in the next few months!! FIND, TEACH, BAPTIZE!!!

The time seems to be getting faster and faster with each day that passes by. To be honest, I don't know where the time went!! Great things are going on here and the Lord is leading us all!! I know that the church is true and that Baptism is a saving ordinance!! I'm re-reading the Book of Mormon and just every time that book opens just knowledge, light, and truth come out!! Nothing beats it!

Love you all and pray for the best!!

Elder Hayes

Nothing Like Preaching the Gospel!
MLC in Jakarta

Some Familiar Faces and Having a Little Fun

One Past Companion, One Current Companion

One of Many Volcanoes

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 59 - How do I Introduce God to People Who Already Know Who God Is?

SELAMAT HARI KEMERDEKAAN!!! Today is the 17th of August which is independence day for Indonesia. I am rockin' a red tie with the white shirt!! :)

"How do I introduce God to people who already know who God is? "

This past week, this has been my question of study! It has taken study from the books (scriptures, Preach my Gospel), experimenting with trial and error, and talking with others. It is safe to say, this is a mission let alone life long question of study. The answer is still in the works, but I think I have a start! My favorite thing to think about is "Being an example unto the believers." When I read that scripture I pictured two groups of people that are followers of Christ but one had a better example than the other and it was just obvious that the person with the better example would have a better influence on the lives of others! As I looked back on my past and pondered the things that I have already done, I truly hope that my example has separated me from others so it gives me an opportunity to "introduce God." Now, I am so not perfect but I'm working on it. I also came to the conclusion that another good way is through the evidence which is the Book of Mormon and the spirit. This past week I started reading the Book of Mormon again and the book of first Nephi just entails everything right there, the Book just happens to get better as we continue reading. The spirit itself will testify of the truth. I have really been working hard to help others feel the spirit through my example, testimony and also the Book of Mormon this past week! This is just the surface of what can answer this life long question.

With that being said, this past week has been AWESOME!!! Lots of good things going on and no rest! It's funny that as a missionary I get way more sleep than I ever did before, yet I am way more tired and exhausted!! It's a good feeling of exhaustion!!! This past week we have met with lots of families. If you had to ask me, it is almost a more spiritual experience when you teach a whole family about the Gospel rather than just 1. 1 is still amazing but there is special power in the family!!! We contacted a guy about a month ago and just barely had the time to make it to his house this past week. When we got there, he had his whole family stop what they were doing and listen to our message. We know that the Gospel will bless their lives. We have had great progression out of our miracle a couple weeks ago. 2 of them have set their baptismal dates and 2 of them have just picked up a huge interest in learning with us. 2 of them were able to make it to church and Sunday and I can see their questions being answered through the Gospel. It is truly amazing. We are looking forward to the next couple weeks before their baptisms and what not. As for the baptism that was supposed to happen this past weekend didn't end up going through. They live a little far from the Chapel and their mother lives in Malaysia, she also is the one who is in charge of renting a car and all that good stuff. However, this week they weren't able to get a car rented and by the time they had told us it was a little too late to go pick them up. No worries, they will be baptized!!!

Lots of great work going on in Manado along with lots of blessings and miracles!!!

To back track a little just of the pure laziness to delete, the miracle family that has set their baptism date was another crazy thing in itself. Elder S and myself had arrived at the house and the dad was just talking about after he was baptized and then out of no where just goes "Oh ya, when is my baptism?" Out of shock we looked at each other with a "did he just ask that?" face! It was a miracle and now they have a date!!

This morning I had to catch a plane to Jakarta because tomorrow there is an MLC meeting so I am currently in Jakarta writing this email!!! Tomorrow night I will return and the work will continue on!! I'm healthy and all is going well!! 

I know the church is true and that the Lord has something special planned for each and every one of us!!

Elder Hayes

My Favorite Drink - "ES CAMPUR"

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 58 - Miracle Investigator, New Missionaries, and a Dead Body

Salam from the Spice Islands!

I'll get right into it. There was a lot of great things that have happened this past week.

On Tuesday we had our district meetings. We usually have our district meetings on Tuesday so that we start off the week all fired up ready to go teach everybody and their distant cousins. I asked one of the Sisters to teach the lesson and she gave a very powerful lesson on conversion of us as individuals. It really had me thinking about what Heavenly Father has planned for us and what we as intelligences know....ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the grand scheme of things but we have enough knowledge for our mission here on Earth.

On Wednesday we were able to pay a visit to our miracle investigator that found the church on the internet. He had the biggest smile when we came up and told us that he has been waiting since he got home from church for our arrival. He came again yesterday and brought his son who is also 19 and is awesome!! They are a family that has been prepared by the Lord.

Our futsal activity that we have every other week keeps having success with less-actives and a few semi-actives. We hope to continue to see the success there!

On Friday, the new missionaries were able to arrive!!! We added 2 new ones to our district so that puts us at 7 missionaries with the sisters now in the 3-some! We picked them up from the airport Friday night and they were able to go straight to work! The new Elder is from Fredericksburg, VA. It turns out he graduated the same year as myself and did a year at BYU. We were talking about mormon proms and other activities and he himself was there in person, so we probably have passed each other in the hallway and now look where we meet, on the other side of the world up in the city of Manado!! Him and I are basically the same person!! Which makes sense because he is my "grandson."

On Saturday Elder P and I had the chance to pick up a dead body. No worries it was safe! I have never touched a dead body in my life. It just so happens that a less-active had passed away and they were going to lay her in the casket and needed help.....of course they ask the 2 biggest people to help, the 2 white people! We set her in and now she can rest peacefully in the care of Heavenly Father.

Church continues to just grow and be awesome. As a district we had 6 investigators at once another packed church. My companion and I had 4 of those investigators! Hopefully 2 of them will be baptized this Saturday and we are planning to set more baptismal dates this week! The church is true!!!!!

So many miracles, so many blessings, and I have the wonderful chance to be a tool in the work!

Love you all!

Elder Hayes

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 57 - PLD in Surabaya, A Sweet Reunion, P-Day at the Beach

Greetings!! This past week has been absolutely wonderful!! I'll get right to the nitty gritty. On Tuesday, all the missionaries flew to Surabaya to have our PLD meeting that happens every 3 months. We arrived had our interviews with President which are always spiritually uplifting and from somewhere just rejuvenates the energy in missionaries! It was awesome! Afterwards, there was some time to play some futsal but I grabbed Elder King and we took a taxi on over to the house of the family that was baptized! It was such a blessing to meet with them again and talk and take photos! I hope the best for them in the future!

On Wednesday we had the training part of the meeting. We learned a lot on how we can work better with our ward and branch leaders. It was exactly what I needed to hear as a missionary and as a district leader. We already have the unity in the district now, we are focusing on the branch. It hasn't been a full week and we have already seen success! Wednesday evening was our flight back to Manado however, it ended up getting delayed and not leaving until night. We stopped in Balikpapan (Kalimantan) so now I can officially say I've been to that island! :) We transferred planes and then arrived in Manado at about 1 in the morning. We were and still  EXTREMELY TIRED!!!!

Church was full as full can get yesterday!! It is always awesome to see the numbers grow as we put in our work. We still have a long ways to go but we will get there. Yesterday at church an eternal investigator came to church which caught me by surprise to be honest. However, he brought a friend who I had a chance to talk to. He had told me a little about things that have happened in the past and that he was looking for a new church. He went on the internet and found this church and asked his friend (the eternal investigator) to bring him. During church he leaned over and asked if we could go to his house and explain more with him!! PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING.....but they may not know where to find it! We will be following up with him this week. 

We were able to spend our P-day today at a beach that was very beautiful! It was very nice and relaxing!! 

Things are going great here! The work continues on as long as there is faith and a desire!! I experience miracles daily and know that the Lord has a plan for us all! 

Elder Hayes

A Sweet Reunion

Sometimes Mission Life is Hard. :)

Balikpapan Airport on the way back to Manado (island of Kalimantan)
P-Day at the Beach

Nature and It's Beauty

Three 'Generations' of Missionaries. :)

Sunsets in Indonesia are pretty cool!