I was reminded this week of one of the things we love about living in Malaysia. Because it is such a large city and we have a relatively small branch of the church here, we have greater opportunities to be involved in missionary work. At first we merely showed our support by attending baptisms and welcoming new members. After a while, we got to know some of the Elders and Michael has been able to help them on a few occasions in meeting with investigators. Then, hallelujah, 2 or 3 months ago there were sisters assigned to the branch! Ah, yes, I obviously have a soft spot in my heart for the sister missionaries, but especially because I would be able to be more directly involved with the missionary work here.
Of course, I also had a 2 month old baby attached to me 24 hours a day, so it hasn't been possible to be much help. But this week they called me to see if I could come to an appointment with them at the church. At first, unfortunately, I had to turn them down because Michael is in the Philippines and it would be far too late to come to an evening appointment with 2 kids in tow (not to mention entirely too disruptive to their teaching). But after hanging up the phone I had vivid flashbacks of being a missionary, arranging schedules, trying to get people to come help, being stuck and in need of a 3rd person and not knowing what to do, and I felt SO ridiculously lousy and guilty, that I immediately called them back and apologized for not realizing earlier that I could volunteer my house to be the meeting place for their appointment. That way I could put the kids to bed and be here to help the sisters. Thankfully, they and their investigators were able to make it here that evening and we had a great time. (I just finished watching "Pride & Prejudice" - thanks Andrea!- before writing this and I keep wanting to say things like "marvelously delightful" and "stupendous" so I apologize if this post sounds out of sorts.) :) It's been difficult having Michael gone and doing bedtimes and mealtimes on my own but it made such a difference to my week to be able to serve someone else. Not to mention the amazing spirit that the missionaries bring to a home...if you have the opportunity to have missionaries over, especially to teach someone, PLEASE take it, I promise you will not regret it.
The man they were teaching didn't speak a word of English (one of the sisters translated everything into Hindi for him) but it didn't matter, the Spirit was still there and we all had big smiles on our faces because it felt so great. Of course that was also because the sisters had brought another investigator with them who is being baptized this week...don't ask me his name, I couldn't spell it if I wanted to, but he was from Nepal and also spoke Hindi. He spoke a little English and tried to explain his feelings about The Book of Mormon...he said when he read it he felt like it was "magic" somehow because it made him so inexplicably happy. It didn't matter how much or how little English either of them spoke, though, because we could all recognize those good feelings in our hearts. Anyway, I was reminded of how contagious missionary work is and I couldn't wait until the sisters called me again (which was fortunate because they called today and asked if I could speak at the baptism tomorrow.) I remember as a missionary myself feeling so anxious sometimes to ask people to serve and so grateful when they would help us, but I wish I had known what it felt like from this side, that they are actually serving ME by allowing me to be a part of their work. I think I would have viewed "member missionary work" a little differently.
Well, my break is over, my kids are awake so it's time to get back to life. I love being with them but I still can't wait for Michael to be home again. Hopefully soon I will have time to download pics from the Weist family vacation and write a little about their visit here. As always people are welcome to come anytime they find themselves in Asia. :)