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