Wow, I am 20. Weird... I guess I am not a teenager anymore?
Well anyways, my birthday was great! Our ward had a suprise party for me and that was a lot of fun, then the next day Dallin H Oaks came and took a picture with us, shook our hands, then talked to us!!
It was really cool. We went around shaking his hand, but every once in a while he would stop someone and ask them a question. I was near the end of the line, and when he shook my hand he stopped and started to ask me a question. I was hoping it would be something profound and thought provoking, but he just asked how long I have been on my mission. I told him, and then he gave me a little hug.
Him and a few other General Authorities talked to us. One of the first things he said when he stood up was, "Your mission president often tells you that you are the best missionaries in the world, well let me tell you something. For a long time now, I have helped assign missionaries where they will serve their missions. We take into account the language difficulty, the difficulty to convert the people, and a few other things when choosing missionaries, and you guys are the best of the best to be sent here to Hong Kong speaking Cantonese."
Then he went on and talked to us about a lot of things, about going from "doing missionary things" to "being a missionary" and about a bunch of other stuff. But that was probably the thing that I have thought about most.
I feel like it applies in a lot more than just missionary work, but really in all that we do. I remember when I first got to Hong Kong and in the MTC I felt like the same person as before, just doing different things. But of course, the inevitable transforming effects of a mission slowly turned me from "Jordan doing missionary things" to "Elder Bingham - A missionary". I am not sure if that makes sense or not, but I dont really know a better way to explain it. Now someday when I come home, I will come back and not expect everyone to call me Elder Bingham. But because of what I have become, and still continue to become on my mission, it will change who I am for the rest of my life.
Well anyways, he also talked about improving ourselves everyday. I have learned as being Zone Leader, that the missionaries who everyone are most concerned about are the missionaries who are not progressing. Not the missionaries who are bad teachers, or who are even disobedient, or whatever other problems they may have (as long as they are progressing). But the moment they stop progressing, no matter how good or bad they may be at the present, they fall behind. The same thing goes for our investigators.
It is interesting because we give our investigators commitments, then we consider their commitment-keeping, progressing. We also tell them that part of "enduring to the end" is progressing for their whole lives. But I think that a lot of the time both missionaries, members, and everyone else doesnt really think about that very often. We are eventually destined to be perfect, exalted beings. But while there is no way we can become perfect on this Earth, we must continually use the Atonement to just make ourselves better and closer to that perfection, no matter how far off from it we are now.
So I realized I need to keep progressing as a missionary and person, even if I feel like I am doing great. Because if I get too comfortable with what I am now, then I feel like I will not have used the atonement to its fullest capacity. Which is not just to repent of sins and horrible things, but to replace the less effective with the more effective, or the good with the better.
Well now that I have gone on a rant for a few paragraphs about that, there is something else I noticed this week. Our baptism didnt happen, his parents cancelled the home phone so that we couldnt contact him, so we have no idea what happened :( BUT we kept working hard this week even though now twice this month we were supposed to have baptisms that didnt happen because the parents wouldnt sign the papers.
Well the other day we were out teaching a little kid English. We didnt know the little kid, but we knew the mom because she invited us over. It turns out that the mom is the only member in the family, and that the son (Who is like 11) hasnt been to church before. The dad was there so we were able to talk to them all about it, and they are all in support of the son coming to church and getting baptized :)
Twice now, when Satan ruined our baptisms, we were blessed with golden new investigators.
Which reminds me!! The dad and son who we met a few weeks ago, whose mom died in a car crash. We were teachign them the plan of salvation and the dad just looked at the son and said, "Well it looks like we better hurry up and get baptized because that is what your mother wants."
We gave them the baptismal date for June 10, then the dad said, "Ooooorrrr, how about next Sunday?" We explained that we still have to teach some commandments and other things, but that we know June 10 they can get baptized. He was happy with that, so hopefully June 10 will be a good day :)
Well thats about all.
Thanks for everything!!
Love you all so much!!!