Saturday, January 22, 2011

Conferences & Concerts

I love it when Sister Howell updates the MMM Blog (Minnesota Minneapolis Mission Blog). I'm always sure to find pictures of Elder Forsyth... Here is Elder Forsyth singing "O Holy Night" during a Christmas Fireside at the mission home on December 12th. Elder Payne, his companion, is his accompaniest.

(below) This was taken 2 days later at a Christmas Conference. Elder Forsyth & Elder Payne are in the second row from the top on the right hand side. Elder Forsyth is fourth from the end, Elder Payne is 3rd.
(if you click on the picture, you can enlarge it) :D
Elder Richard Hinckley and his wife visited with the missionaries
of the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission last fall.
Here they are (center) with President & Sister Howell (left)
Elder Payne, Adam's companion, is on the far right.
(this is the first time I've seen a picture of him)

(we'll have a little fun and see if you can pick out
Elder Forsyth's handsome face from all the other handsome faces)

Okay - I have to be honest and say that I don't like Zone Leader
Conferences. I'm really glad that Elder Forsyth gets to go and get such
great training from President Howell and others,
... it means that Missionary Email MONDAY
turns into Missionary Email THURSDAY.
I'm always SO excited on Mondays to hear from Adam, but as the day wears on, and there's still no email after I've checked my inbox, oh about 25 times... I realize its because Elder Forsyth is at another ZL Conference, and I won't hear from him for a few days. So if you see Tina moping around on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, you'll know WHY!

(So, did you spot Elder Forsyth in the 3 pictures?)

A great big THANKS to Sister Howell for doing such a
great job on the Mission blog!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Transitions & Transfers

Zone Leader Conference - October 2010
Elder Forsyth is standing, 4th from right

Hmong New Year 2009/2010
St. Paul, Minnesota
Elder Hill & Elder Forsyth with Pa Ngia, Yer & Ia Her
The Hmong Elders and some pretty Hmong girls
at the LDS Missionary Booth
The Hmong New Year's Celebration attracts about 100,000 Hmong every year, and the missionaries always set up a booth. The Hmong are always interested in these missionaries who can speak their language. Every year, a number of new contacts and baptisms happen because of the introductions that are made at Hmong New Year. Elder Forsyth was very pleased to be asked by President Howell to organize and oversee the missionary booth this past New Year. It gave him a chance to be back among the Hmong and practice his language skills.
This is Mee and her girls.
Elder Forsyth had the privilege of teaching them the gospel before he left St. Paul. Mee's husband also began taking the discussions and was changing his life, but had to go to jail for some time. Mee and her oldest daughter decided to be baptized, and was baptized by her cousin, Toua Her, who you see in the picture below. One of the greatest blessings that has come from Elder Forsyth's mission is to see those that HE taught and baptized, go on to receive the Priesthood and be able to use that priesthood to bless others. Elder Forsyth is hoping and praying that Toua will choose to serve a mission.
The wonderful Her family
of St. Paul, Minnesota
Taken the night before Elder Forsyth was transferred.

A lot has happened in the four months since Elder Forsyth's mom has neglected his blog. The biggest news is that President Howell transferred Elder Forsyth (temporarily) from the Hmong to English speaking missionary work. Elder Forsyth was transferred to Maple Grove, which is a medium size city of about 65,000 people, with 94% of them being white, and only 3% Asian... This has been a HUGE adjustment for Elder Forsyth, and his first few letters home expressed that he felt "way more homesick for the Hmong people than he ever did for home" (St. George, UT).

His transfer came as a surprise to us at first, too, but we soon realized/remembered its probably a good thing to know how to preach the gospel in English as well as in Hmong, and his calling as a missionary had more to do with serving the Lord than serving the Hmong... though he's definitely been doing both. Despite his transfer to Maple Grove, which has a very strong ward of about 300 active members, Elder Forsyth has been able to go back into St. Paul for several important events there. The best of of which was the baptism of Tong Her, the 6th member of the Her family to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which tips the scales in their family to 6 members, 5 non-members.
In his new area, since his transfer, Elder Forsyth has seen one young sister (age 16) come into the waters of baptism. He is finding the work in Maple Grove to be very different and more difficult. He writes that the Hmong are so easy and friendly, and so willing to invite the missionaries in. They are amazed that someone would leave their homes, come to their city, and learn to speak their language. However, in Maple Grove, even though the ward is very member missionary oriented, there just isn't much interest among the people in the city to listen. They end up with many doors slammed in their faces. Its definitely a growing experience for Elder Forsyth. He awaiting the miracle in Maple Grove, and has faith that there are individuals and families there that he is supposed to find. He has loved serving with his new companion as joint Zone Leader, especially as Elder Payne is a concert pianist and the two have been able to give a few mini-concerts of sacred music with Elder Forsyth singing and Elder Payne on the piano.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A heart prepared to learn

The following was written by Sister Howell on the Minneapolis Mission blog at on July 31, 2010:

"Last night Elder Vang and Elder Forsyth were planning to find out where to tract a couple of hours the next day. In response to Zone Conference training, they prayed and picked out 5 streets or so a piece, comparing their choices and discerning through the spirit where they should go. Elder Birkel, an assistant to the president was with them, helping them find in the area: We had the distinct impression to tract at a street called Margaret the next day. The area proved to be too broad, so we prayed to focus on a smaller area and knocked on the first door that we knew was Hmong, explaining who we were, and that we were there to teach the gospel. The woman who answered responded, 'I'm a Christian. My ex-husband's friend was a Mormon and taught him about a boy ordained to be a prophet. You want to come inside? There were three of us, so we went inside, prayed and taught her the plan of salvation. 'Do you know where we came from before this life?' We asked her. 'Yes, I know we were with God through the scriptures --- 'before I formed thee in the belly; I knew thee,'' she responded quoting several scriptures. Hmong people are not familiar with this concept; we were surprised and excited. She also mentioned that Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights she usually goes to a bible study class, but she felt she needed to stay home that night. We responded that we, too, had been praying about where to contact and felt directed to her home.

"'Yes,' she said, 'I think God made this appointment for us!' She had a question about where those go who do not know about Christ; she had been taught by her pastor that you could only accept the gospel here on the earth. We explained how our Heavenly Father had prepared a way for all to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, even after this life, and referred her to 1 Peter 3:18-20. She responded, 'I have read this scripture over and over and you guys have answered my question!!' She set an appointment next week to teach her, after identifying the spirit in our meeting by herself! She's amazing, and the Lord blesses us as we follow the counsel of our leaders."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beaten with a spirit stick

Elder Forsyth (front and center) with his
greenie companion from Samoa
during May transfers
"So anyway, This last week has been crazy. Our mission is very busy. We are doing two things. One, they are changing the way missionaries teach and they are changing the way they teach missionaries in the MTC. It's all the same stuff from Preach My Gospel, but they are taking a much different approach to everything. They are teaching us how to receive revelation in the moment we need it, in the very middle of the lesson. It's absolutely incredible. We just got done with a 4 day leadership-training meeting in Bloomington. It was intense and amazing. It was like being beaten with the 'spirit-stick' 4 days straight lol. Then going out and applying it that very night. In addition I started a workout which is very intense called P-90X, it's very difficult and makes you very sore lol. Anyway, We were waking up at 5:30am to work out and then drive to Bloomington, and then from 9:05-3:45ish Mon-Thurs. Then President Howell taught us these lessons and roleplayed them with us. Then we drove back and spent the rest of the evening applying what we learned. It was absolutely incredible because it all works. They are literally teaching us how to be like Ammon and Alma and Nephi. It was a very in-depth discussion on the spirit and how it works and how to teach."

"These principles are going to guide me for the rest of my life. Anyway, all the Zone Leaders, District Leaders and Assistants (APs) were at this meeting, as well as trainers. All told we had 70+ missionaries, which is about a third of the missionaries in our mission. Our job is to go out and teach the rest of the missionaries what to do. I know that this is going to change the face of missionary work in Minnesota. In addition, our mission is chosen as a pilot mission for a new advertisement campaign that the church wants to run. Its going to focus a lot more on They are going to implement this is the Twin Cities area. It will involve new television commercials, billboards, newspaper ads, etc. I think this will impact a lot of the mission. Anyway, hopefully they are going to launch this shortly. We had to fill out a survey (took 3 - 4 hours) about all of our investigators and referrals for their information."

Elder Forsyth's reaction to hearing about Elder Brandon's mission call to Singapore:
"Oh my gosh!!!!! I have been seriously jumping up and down out of my mind ever since I found out about Brandon's mission call!" (I think he's excited...)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

An Obedient Army of the Lord

Elder Forsyth recently wrote home about success in the Minnesota-Minneapolis Mission.

"There's no point denying the power of the Lord's promises, because He always tells the truth. I've really been coming to understand the principle behind the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants, 'I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say." As a missionary its our privilege to do the Lord's work and literally bind the Lord. When we have our Mission President or an Apostle promise us a blessing for keeping a commandment I make sure to write it down. the greatest thing is that you are SURE to get that desired blessing, because the Lord has promised that 'The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save He shall prepare a way for them to accomplish the thing which He commandeth them.' (Nephi 3:7) So, He gives a commandment and promises a blessing. He also promises that if we work our hardest and seek the spirit to guide us in that endeavor then He will prepare a way for us to accomplish that commandment, thereby securing the blessing for ourselves which He has promised. As I have come to understand this I have come to see how true it is."

Last June -- before Adam left the MTC for Minnesota, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to the missionaries of the Minnesota-Minneapolis Mission and issued them a challenge with a promise. They were commanded that if they would teach 20 lessons a week, they would see their baptism numbers double and that it would also change "the face of the church" or the way that people viewed the church. On average, at that time, their companionships were averaging 9.5 lessons per week, so they needed to more than double their efforts to reach their goal. Every companionship in the mission agreed to this commitment.

In March of this year, Sister Howell, the Mission President's wife, wrote in the mission blog: "We wanted to be the first mission in the millenium to teach 20 lessons per week, to be obedient to President Hinckley, President Monson and Elder Perry. At our Mission President's Conference (where Elder Perry was again present and presiding), President Howell asked the missionaries who had achieved this lofty goal to stand. The whole congregation of missionaries stood up at once! The meeting was web-cammed to the outskirts. The missionaries in the other meetings all stood as well --- ONE congregation. The spirit poured into the building. It was an obedient army of the Lord - standing in accounting to his apostle. Every companionship - with the exception of one missionary who had just arrived - had accomplished this goal!"

A few weeks ago, Elder Forsyth sent a letter home and shared that his companionship had taught 30 lessons that week and that Sacrament Meeting attendance in the St. Paul Hmong Branch has doubled since he first arrived there 6 months ago. He was also privileged to baptize and confirm the mother of 3 Hmong young women he had baptized several weeks before and also baptized one of her sons as well. He bore testimony that he truly does know that the Lord keeps his promises... even and especially those given through his prophets and apostles.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hmong Food Fest - newly acquired culinary skills

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7 baptisms in 2 months

Baptism of a Hmong boy. Elder Forsyth and Elder Hill found and helped
to reactivate the family and the father was able to carry out the ordinance
of baptism for his son. What a joy for that family!

A wonderful Hmong family that Elder Forsyth has been teaching. The mother is waiting to be baptized until her sons decide to commit... BUT-----

Here are her 3 beautiful daughters... Pa Ngia, Yer and Ia...
who entered the waters of baptism. My heart is overflowing.
Look how radiant they are.
Xaiv quov yog!
(Choose the Right)

From Elder Forsyth's last email...
"You know, I've really been seeing alot of miracles the past 4 months. I honestly believe it's because we're doing what God would have us do. I am trying my best to teach of Christ and center all I do on Christ. One important part of that is striving to obey the apostles words to us missionaries as well as President Howell's words. As we have done this, we've seen amazing results. This will be 7 baptisms within 2 months for the Branch, which is really huge. 6 of those are convert baptisms. It's really good for the members to see this. They're all getting a 'missionary fire' and a hope and zeal in their own lives. As we've been bringing members with us their own lives have been changed around as well. We've seen our best less-active program come by bringing the people with us to teach lol. They feel the spirit that comes through testimony. In the Doctrine and Covenants it talks about this. It says something along the lines that...When you bear testimony of Christ then angels record it in Heaven. Ye are sanctified through this testimony...Anyway, that's a terrible summary, but it's true. It's a principle. The testimony of Christ is the spirit of revelation. No one can have the spirit unless he is clean. You are cleansed through the spirit. SO, as we testify of Christ, we therefore receive the spirit which in turn cleanses us so that He can continue to dwell in our hearts. Isn't it amazing? That's why testimony meeting is so good I think, because we experience the cleansing power of the blood of Christ which comes through the Holy Ghost."