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."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Elder Forsyth!!!!

In the news...
Elder Forsyth and his companion were assigned by President Howell to be "shadowed" for a day by a local newspaper reporter for the main Twin Cities newspaper. Here they are on an appointment with a Hmong family.

The Hmong NEW YEAR celebration in the Twin Cities!

All the Hmong Elders in the Twin Cities.

The Elders set up a booth at the Hmong New Year festivities
and got about 100 referrals.
Beautiful Hmong costumes.

Elder Forsyth looks good in pink!

Back at the apartment...
Elder Forsyth claims that living conditions are better on his mission than they were at home. Okay ---- if he's sleeping in BATHROOM, how bad were things at home? LOL
Actually, he wrote a very funny letter home telling us how great he has it on his mission...
no one steals his food, he only has to share the bathroom with one other person.
He'd better enjoy the "good life" while he has it.

Definitely not the Taj Majal!

Elder Forsyth & Elder Hill

Elder Forsyth has really enjoyed cooking while on his mission.

His favorite companion... (another) Elder Hill from CA.

At the "Frat House"