Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Well, I didn't realize that we would have one more preparation day before the New Year! It's New Year's Eve, but we really don't have too much planned at all, just a couple of appointments. One cancelled, so we're going to have to try and set up another one.
Anyhow, I've had a pretty decent week. We had a couple of appointments, and spent some time with the members. We worked on building a relationship of trust with the Young Men by having lunch and playing basketball with them. At the same time, we had a farewell gathering for Glen, our former ward mission leader, who has headed off to BYU Hawaii for four years. On Friday night, we had dinner appointments with two families. We were only going to be able to make it to one of them. Fortunately, the Assistants were able to go on splits with us. I went over to the Yow home with Elder Perrett, and had a great time there, including doing a short Christmas presentation. We spent Saturday planning, and had a decent Sunday. We went over the the Low family's home for lunch. I was able to give a farewell/missionary work talk, and it was gratifying to feel the Spirit as I bore my testimony about the truthfulness of the gospel. Elder Holland gave a talk about missionary work, that I used in my talk, and that helps me through some of the harder days. He said:
"When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions."
I am grateful to be able to serve my Lord, and as I said in my last message, that these past seven months have been both the worst and best days of my life. But through it all, there is nothing that I would rather be doing.
I also talked about the challenges that we face and missionaries, and the fears that members face as they try to do missionary work. But, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles put it very well in the last General Conference, where he said,
"The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn’t asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He’s asking us to give of our means and our time despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and then to attend regularly the temples already built. He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life."
I'VE BEEN TRANSFERRED! I'm now serving in the Clementi Ward, along with Elder Palfreyman from Laguna Beach, CA. He is a wonderful missionary and I enjoy doing missionary work with him. It turns out that my Elder's Quorum President from BYU is in the same home ward as him, so that was definitely a coincidence. Unfortunately (just joking!), he isn't a BYU boy, but studies at UC Berkley. The big thing about this transfer is that I'm now an office Elder. So, instead of tracting/proselyting the whole day, we spend about five hours in the mission office after studies, to do the paperwork and such needed to run the mission. It's definitely fun and interesting, and its definitely been nice not being so physically exhausted at the end of each day.
Well, that's about it for this week. I hope that you all have a wonderful week, and New Year ahead of you, it's going to be exciting!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
In our last Zone Conference, Sister Palmer, one half of the office couple, bore her testimony, and talked about how they had watched batches of missionaries come and go. She made a comment that had me thinking and reflecting for a bit after that. She said every now and then, Elder Palmer and her would see a new missionary and comment "It'll be fun to watch that one grow."
As I thought about that, I started to think about how I have grow and changed over the course of the last seven months as a missionary. As cliched as that might sound, it really made me think just that little bit more about how I have grown, and what I have learned throughout the year.
Over the course of my mission, I've definitely had highs and lows, times of absolute joy, but also times of absolute depression. Through it all, I've come to learn that the most important thing to do, to have faith and trust in the Lord, then be at peace with the Lord's will for you. I've had four companions so far, and I've learned much from each one of them. In retrospect, as I look back at each companion, I have come to the conclusion that they were inspired of President Skelton, and there were things that I could never have learned from anyone else. I love them and will always remember them as wonderful friends. No matter what I've said in the past, I can honestly say that I appreciate each one of them for who they are, and what they have each done for me. It's been a hard thing for me to have to be with someone 24/7, and it can definitely be trying on some days. It's been hard to learn how to budget, and to not have what I'm used to. It's been hard to have to wake up at seven in the morning, to sleep at 11p.m, and to have a set schedule to follow. It's been hard to have to report, to have a standard to constantly measure up to, it's been hard to be rejected time and time again by people around us, and occasionally, to be mocked and ridiculed.
But, It's been wonderful to feel the love of the Lord, it's been wonderful to see an investigator, or more appropriately phrased, it's been wonderful to see a child of the Lord grow. It's been wonderful to enter the waters of baptism with these souls. It's been wonderful to work with people who want to serve the Lord, it's been wonderful to have times of laughter and joy.
Throughout these six months, I suppose that some of the adjectives that I can use to describe the things I have learned are things like faith, hope, charity, love, brotherly kindness, humility, diligence, virtue, knowledge. Now I know that these might just seem like a list of empty words as I list them. But, in one way or another, I truly have gained just a little more knowledge about each of these attributes, and have learned to apply them in my life just a little bit more. There have been times when I have been satisfied at the end of the day with the work that I've done, doing my best to serve the Lord, but also days when I have felt the disappointment of returning home at the end of the day, knowing that I could have done better in serving the Lord. But, there's only so much you can do in this life, and regretting about things in the past isn't one of them. So, without glancing back, I hope to be able to take a step forward to the new year, to learn what I'm supposed to learn, to do what I'm supposed to do, and be what I'm supposed to be.
I've come to understand just how important my family is to me, I miss my parents, and I've come to know just how much they love me and care for me. Aside from the love of our Heavenly Father and His Son, there is no kind of love, that can substitute a parent's love.
Last of all, I've come to learn that the only way that you can serve a mission, the only way that you can live a life filled with true peace, love, and happiness, is to do put your faith and trust in the Lord. He's always there for us, and I'm learning slowly to put my trust in Him completely, and not in the arm of flesh. To know that what you're doing is helping to change the world for the better in just a small way is good enough for me. And, to be able to feel the love o0f my Heavenly Father, and knowing that he is pleased with me, is what gives me much peace. I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas, and a great start in the year 2009. I have always loved this poem by Louise Haskins, and has always been an inspiration to me at the start of each year. I hope that it might in some way inspire you too.
He replied, "Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
"So I went forth, and, finding the Hand of God,
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Well, this week has definitely been a week of ups and downs. Had a great first couple of days at the nativity. On the first night, I ran the missionary stand and answered people's questions, along with singing in a missionary quartet. On the second night, I was able to play the part of one of the shepherds and had a wonderful time. Over the past few days, I had been having some sharp shooting pains on the left side of my head, and some pimple-like things had been growing too. I thought that they were just pimples. But, when it started to grow into the side of my scalp, I panicked and went to the doctors on Saturday. It was there that the doctor looked at me funny, told me it was too late, and said that I should have seen him earlier. Anyhow, to cut a long story short, I have SHINGLES! The doctor said that it's caused by stress, and it is contagious, since it's in the same family as chicken pox, so I've pretty much have had to spend most of the week cooped up in our apartment. I'll be going back to the doctor's tomorrow to see how things are. I wasn't able to go to the nativity on Saturday, nor was I able to go to Church on Sunday. Elder Tuckfield and Elder Wright went to Church on Sunday, including my home ward's PEC meeting. Unfortunately, someone mentioned that I had been stressed by my companion, and to pray for me, so that didn't work out so well. I've tried to apologize but to no avail. I can understand his situation. Talked to President Skelton about it and he said that he'll work something out soon. The ward that, he sisters have been wonderful, bringing lunch and dinner for the past few days! Elder Taiamoni is the new assistant to the President, so Elder Tuckfield's new companion is Elder Richards from American Fork, Utah. Well, enough of that, on to more joyful things, Christmas!
Well, my Christmas message is centered on Matthew 26:52-54, where one of the apostles cuts of the ear of a man named Malchus, who was part of the group who arrested Jesus that fateful night in the garden of Gethsemane. Christ rebuked his disciple, and said "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
To me, it seems clear that the Savior had all power to fight off the men who were there to arrest him, and who would eventually scourge and crucify Him. But, the Lord knew that the salvation of mankind rested on His shoulders, that only through Him and by Him, could mankind then be saved. I am so grateful for His love, His willingness to lay down His life for us. We all celebrate Christmas because of the joy it brings to us, for the love that we have in our families, the exchange of presents, and of course, the birth of our Savior. His birth was the beginning of His ministry, His life starting so that it would end in crucifixion, that all the ends might be fulfilled. I often wonder how the Savior could ever pay so great a price for us. I can't comprehend it. And so, instead of doing that, I am grateful to celebrate his birth, His birth that we might all live again.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi was asked by an angel if he knew and understood "the condescension of God." Nephi's wonderful reply was, ".... I know that he loveth His children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." That reply has always brought peace to my heart. As I have come to understand that scripture just a little bit more, I find comfort and joy in the fact that my Heavenly Father loves me, and knows me personally, and who loves me so much. I hope that we will all be able to remember our Heavenly Father and His Son at this wonderful time, knowing that Christ loves us, that He made the sacrifice that had to be, and whose birth we now celebrate. I am so grateful to be able to spread this message of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and in Him, we truly can find, the reason for the season.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Well, it's been a pretty rough week, but I'm just doing my best to work though it. Spent my last day resting at home on Monday. Over the last week, we haven't been doing much except going to the doctor's, and going to a few appointments. Definitely feeling better now, but just working through some problems right now. I've been on exchanges with Elder Colvin for the past day, so we've been able to discuss ways that we can help our area, and my companionship with Elder Wright, to grow.
Unfortunately, my dear companion has lost all desire to work, so I'm working with mission leaders to try and figure what to do. He is a good person, but unfortunately has lost sight of his goal, and so, we are working together to find a solution. First of all, I've been given the counsel to change myself in such a way where I can help the companionship. I can try my best to change my companion, but the only real changes can come if I sacrifice my comforts and serve my companion. It really is one of the hardest things that I've had to do in my life. It seems that no matter how physically hard something is, there is a point where you can stop. But, with emotional and spiritual heartache, it takes a lot more out of a person. I just wish sometimes that it wasn't so hard. There have been times this week when I've just wanted to quit. I broke down for a bit yesterday, but there's only so much that I can do. I believe that what I've come to realize through and personal reflection that I have to somehow put my trust completely in the Lord, and not in the arm of flesh. I'm just trying to work on that day by day.
Sometime this week, I was reading from the scriptures and a little quote book of the late President Hinckley, and I came across a scripture that has really helped me, which is found in 2 Corinthians 4:15-18, which reads:
"For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
It is comforting to know that our mortal trials are but a preparation for the joy of eternal life. But, I must say that the trails don't get easier. I suppose that I feel comforted knowing that there is a reason for all these things happening, that I can grow and learn from these experiences. Elder Colvin gave a wonderful district training based on President Monson's talk from the last General Conference, To Learn, To Do, To Be. President Monson talked about how we all need to be held accountable for all we do, and so, with the Lord as our guide, we need to learn what we need to learn, take it to doing what we need to do, and finally, to be what we need to be. Over the course of the six months in the mission field, I have been able to, in a way, see the person who I want to be. Of course, that's going to take a lot of learning and doing, to make many sacrifices, to try and give up my human weaknesses and turn to the Lord who can help me become strong. What I've learned, I hope, is that everything that happens in the mission field happens for a reason, every transfer, every experience is helping to mold and shape me into the person whom the Lord wants me to be. I just pray that I can in some measure mold into that kind of person. What Elder Colvin had us do was to write down some of our problems, because we can only change ourselves. We wrote down how we could preliminarily fix the problem, then read through the talk, and through each section, and used the advice and counsel there to write down a final solution. It really did help, and the best part is that we can use it in our lives, for school, for work, for relationships. I think that I'm going to get a "problem book" specially for this :)
We have a live nativity going on this week, where people go to different rooms and view different scenes relating to Christ's birth. I'll be a sheperd for one of the night, and sing in a quartet the other two nights, so that is something that I am definitely looking forward to.
Anyhow, I'm just trying to push onward, and do my best. I would appreciate if you would keep me in your prayers, thanks so much.
By the way, in regard to the hints about packages, I hope that I haven't offended anyone with that. It was a half joke/half sure, why not? I really don't expect any of those, though a Christmas card would be nice. It's been mentioned a couple times to me that my posts seem a little self-righteous or rude and time. I do hope that I haven't offended or hurt any one's feelings. If I have, I do apologize.
The Christmas season is supposed to be a time for joy, hope, and love. It hasn't been too easy doing that, but I'm just trying to get into the Spirit of it, day be day. Gosh, sometimes it is so hard and I wish I could just give up, and say, "I'm done." Some of the missionaries aren't too friendly at times too, but I know that we're all human, and forgiveness is required of all.
We have Zone Conference next week, though we're not sure if it's on Thursday or Friday yet, so I'll be writing on one of those two days instead of the usual Wednesday.
Well, I hope that I haven't put too many of you in a cankerous mood this week. Thanks so much for your love and support. Have a wonderful week, take care and God bless!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Had a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch last week! And, I'm starting to wear contacts now, off with the spectacles!
This week has been pretty uneventful because I've been sick since Saturday. Had some pretty bad cheat, throat and head pains, so I had to go to the doctor. Apparently, I have had some bad muscle spasms and a couple rough asthma attacks but I got some medication. Just roughing it out through a bad cough and throat right now.
On Friday, we had a ward fashion show that we helped out at. Elder Wright did a little act and talk about appearances and modesty.
The rest of the weekend has really been spent just trying to get some rest at home, though I've been getting worse. But, I'm sure it'll get better soon. I'm hoping it does. It's getting tiring to be cooped up at home.
Joseph is still our star investigator. He's progressing well. Unfortunately, our other investigators have really been pretty flaky, so we hope to give them a boost or find some new ones.
Sad to hear that Elder Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles passed away. I loved his talks of simplicity, peace, joy, and the simple pleasures in life. I really enjoyed his last conference talk, Come What May, And Love It. He talked about how to take life as it comes, and he gave three wonderful ways to overcome them. The three thing were to 1. Learn to laugh 2. Seek for the Eternal 3. The Principle of Compensation and 4. Trust in the Father and the Son. A quote from that talk that I really enjoyed was this:
The first thing we can do is learn to laugh. Have you ever seen an angry
driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person
has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back
to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left
open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and
avenged by a sore-headed victim?
There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.
Really not too much to write on this week, looking forward to Christmas! I got our Mission President to approve the movie The Polar Express, so we're enjoying that extra boost to the Christmas season/spirit. Do rent/buy/watch the movie if you have time, it has such wonderful messages!
Well, hope to hear from y'all sometime during this wonderful Christmas season! Oh, there are also Flat Rate Envelopes for $12.95! :P
Thanks so much for reading! Do member missionary work! Oh! We're having a live nativity performance called A Night In Bethlehem where there will be different rooms of different scenes leading to Christ's birth. Elder Wright and I, along with another person, will be the shepherds. We have to sing too! Will have some photos up next week! Take care and God bless!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
We've had an awesome week, mainly because we had the baptism of the Figueiredo family on Saturday! Unfortunately, when I baptized the kids, Thomas and Alex, I left my camera in my pocket and it was destroyed, so I'll only be able to put up/send a photo out in the next week or two after I've got a new camera.
I guess that since I started talking about the Figueiredo's baptism, I might as well go on about it now. Well, earlier in the day, we had a ward activity at the Botanical Gardens. As we were walking in, Elder Wright spotted them, minus Thomas, but with an extra man in their group. It turns out that the man was Carlos Martins, the person who introduced them to the Church in Brazil. He had flown 36 from Brazil to Singapore just for their baptism and confirmation. It was wonderful to meet him, and it was great that he was there! The ward picnic was really fun, and we got to relax, eat, and just have some fun and games.
The baptismal service was amazing. Seeing that family in white was like looking into the future where we will all be dressed in white. There were some great talks given. Simone, the mother, was the one who first learned about the Church and propelled the family in the right direction. She really felt the Spirit, and it was wonderful to see in her countenance, her belief and knowledge that was she was about to participate in was the best thing that she could ever do. The baptisms went off without a hitch, and there were some wonderful testimonies borne, along with a great welcome by Bishop Nef, my home ward Bishop :). My parents were able to make it to watch the baptism, that made it all the better. The Figeuiredo Family is wonderful, and I can't wait to see how they grow in the gospel as they are sealed together in the temple as a family and onward. I can't wait to see Thomas and Alex, their two boys, go on missions and serve the Lord, because I know that they will be amazing!
We have a great new investigator named Belle, who's Singaporean Indian.She was passed to us by Elder Hoare. She's a little skeptical and defensive, but she's really genuinely wanting to search for the truth. She's one of my favorite investigators because she's assertive in a very confident and bubbly way.
Right now, we have this golden investigator named Joseph who we've set a baptismal for December 13th. He's an Indian man from... India who is now a permanent resident here. He's trying to save up money to get his family to Singapore. But, when he first got here, his agent and the company that he worked for cheated him of his salary and left him to the dumps. He has a degree but is now working at a 7-11. I feel so bad for those people, but I feel even more disgusted when I think of those people who cheat their own human beings. He's been having a hard time, but he's getting comfort in the knowledge that the Lord knows all things and that it will eventually all work out. We're really blessed to have him as an investigator. He's a genuinely nice guy, and a family man.
Other than that, we've had a pretty normal week. A couple dinner appointments here and there, and we've been working with Peter to make sure that he doesn't miss Church. Oh, we've changed our tactics of finding new investigators. We are now going to be going full out in using the members in the ward now. It's now the holiday season, so we're going to get them to start having their friends meet with us, and share the gospel with them. It's the perfect time too now anyhow, it is the Christmas season.
Well, we're going to head of to our Thanksgiving lunch at the Church now, then probably head off to the beach at Sentosa for some games and relaxation!
The Christmas season is starting up over here already! The missionaries are starting to receive their Christmas packages! Apparently, there are Flat Rate boxes going at $38.95 from USPS the States to Singapore that's decent sized. So, if you wanted to know that... :P
Have a wonderful week! Take care and God bless!
Love, Elder Chua
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
For the past two Sundays, Jeff and Tyler Showalter, some close family friends, were in town from New York. I spent a summer with them a couple of years ago doing an internship. It was wonderful to see them. It really is amazing how time flies! I just love having friends in the gospel!
I had a wonderfully spiritual experience in District Meeting yesterday. Elder Colvin's training was on being "Called to Serve." He first showed us a video called "An Ensign to the Nations," which talked about the pioneers of the Church around the world. One part talked about a prophecy made by a Maori Wise Man who prophesied about the LDS missionaries coming. After that, he showed the segment on Asia, about the dedication of Hong Kong, and about Dr. Kim, a Korean who was instrumental in building and starting the Church in Korea. He put his reputation on the line for the Church, in a country where "face" means everything. After that, we read the dedicatory prayer of Singapore, which was given by Elder Ezra Taft Benson, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, later prophet of the Lord. As we read it paragraph by paragraph, I really felt the Spirit. As I read the paragraph I was assigned to, I broke down because I finally realized that the Lord has called me to serve in Singapore for a reason. This is my country, these are my fellow countrymen, and I feel that it is such a privilege to serve them, even though they might not want it. Where ever we are called to on our missions is where the Lord needs us to go because he knows that there are certain people in the world that we have been specifically called to minister to. ，being able to serve in my own country. The Stake President has a desire to see Singapore have two Stakes, so that we can petition for a temple. I pray that the work will go forth, which will them enable this miracle.
This particular quote by President Hinckley has really inspired me. It goes, "To missionaries: Go forward. Do your work. It's so very, very important. You have on your narrow shoulders the responsibility of teaching the gospel to a world that doesn't want it. At least they think they don't want it because they haven't tasted of it. And for many, many of those people you are the only source of knowledge they will ever have of this Church. It is so very important that you make a good appearance. Someday someone might well say, 'Well, yes, I met two of your missionaries years ago and I've been thinking about it ever since then. Come in and tell me what you have to offer.' Go forward with faith and without fear."Well, do hope to hear from you all sometime. Christmas is just around the corner! Well, Thanksgiving than Christmas. Do think about what missionaries "away" from home love for Christmas! :P
Love, Elder Chua
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This past week has been pretty busy! First off, I had that change of companions! I now have Elder Wright, from Draper, Utah as my companion. It's my first time being Senior Companion so it's definitely a new challenge, especially since he has been a year out longer than me! I was also District Leader for a few days when they were reorganizing the districts so I got to give District training yesterday! I trained the missionaries on how to live a better life as individuals, which translates into them being better missionaries.
Anyhow, we've had a pretty good week. We had a wonderful appointment with the Figueiredo family, our Brazilian family that is getting baptized in less than two weeks. We're just about done teaching them all the lessons, and we'll be going over the baptismal interview questions with them tonight. We really are so excited because of the faith that they have, and for the love or the gospel!
We were able to meet up with Prasanth, though he was an hour late. So, we had a talk with him about whether or not he really knows it's true, whether or not he really wanted to learn since he always seemed to be missing appointments. He said that he really did believe that all we've taught is true. We're working with him to be able to talk to his family. He's a wonderful kid and we really do believe that he can be baptized by the end f the year. We had a man named Chen from Malaysia who we met up with, who was really nice. But the only reason why he met was because he promised to meet us again. He said that unless there is scientific proof, he's not willing to accept what we teach him. I just think it's sad how some people aren't willing to have faith, how unwillingly there are to see all that is around them, and put their trust in the Lord.
We had Zone Conference this past week! It was amazingly wonderful as usual, and President Skelton taught us about the Plan of Salvation, emphasizing judgement, and how we really need to live our lives in such a way that we can be prepared and clean and judgement day and be able to say confidently that we have "fought the good fight."
One thing that I have really learned this week is about humility. This morning, I was reading a talk by President Ezra Taft Benson about pride, and he talked about how pride is the thing that most keeps the children of God away from their Heavenly home. As I thought about it, and reflected on it, I came to realize just how proud I've been all these years, with my parents, my family, my friends, and all those around me. My resolve is to do my best to humble.
President Benson said that for men, "The proud stand more in fear of men’s judgment than of God’s judgment. “What will men think of me?” weighs heavier than “What will God think of me?”"
Along with that, he just talked more about pride and how it can really destroy us. I just hope and pray that I will be able to do my best to be humble, and not think that I'm one cut about the rest, that I do not always have to be better than someone, or be the person that another person wants me to be. Rather, I hope that I will be able to become the person who God wants me to be, and be able to return to live with Him and my family in joy and peace foe eternity.
I have to head off, but thanks for those who take the time to read this! Do write! Thanks for the letters to those who have written!
Elder Ee Chien Chua
Thursday, November 6, 2008
We taught Jennifer again, this time with Elder Pace. We also brought a member, Sister Lai, who has a daughter right around the same age as Jennifer's. We started theb lesson off, and discussed the beginning parts of the Restoration. We thought that it was going really well. But, when we got to the First Vision, she suddenly asked, "Why are you pushing this religion on me?" We were really surprised and asked her what she was asking. She then told us that she thought that we were just meeting as friends. I guess there was a huge misunderstanding between us. Unfortunately, she then proceeded to rudely tell us how close minded we were, and how we needed to loosen up. Of course, we tried explaining it to her, and offered her a copy of the Book of Mormon, but she said that she would never read it or convert, and continued talking rubbish about how closed we were to the world. We were just really sad about the whole incident, and it just made me see hoe close minded some people are, who think they are better than others, judge them, and refuse to look at the world around them. It was definitely an eye opener to part of the world around me.
On Saturday, we had to start packing. Elder Pace had to pack for the transfer, and I had to pack because I've just moved to an apartment that is a lot more convenient for our area. I'm now living with the Mandarin Elders.
We went over to the Govindasamy's for their Deepavali dinner, and had a great time over there. It was wonderful food, and we were able to fellowship them. In addition, they invited their non-member friends over and we were able to talk to some of them about the Church. One of the men that ElderPace talked to was an inactive members, and we learned that he left the Church because his girlfriend had said she would marry him, but went to BYU and married someone else instead. Elder Pace just had a good chat with him about the Church. Hopefully that man will see the light again someday.
On Sunday, Elder Pace and I both bore our testimonies, had Church and all that, and, that night, had dinner at a member's home. That night, Elder Kwok (who transferred to Kuching) and I packed to past midnight. Elder Pace packed till right around then too. The next day, we headed over to the Church and said our goodbyes. Headed back home to unpack and all that, then headed back to the office. There, we found out that Elder Hoare and I were only going to be companions for five days. We were so looking forward to be companions, so it was sad that we were able to be companions longer. Elder Hoare will be heading up to Penang, and one of the Elders from Penang is headed here. We asked why we had to have the transfer, and they said that it was for the best of the mission. My new companion will be Elder Wright, and I'm going to be the senior companion, even though my new companion has been on a mission a year longer than me. President Skelton said that I just have to step up and be a leader now, and be loving, so I will have to do my best. Do pray for me!
We've been passed the Brazilian family that I originally contacted, and their baptism date is set for November 22nd, so it is going to be awesome! I'm so excited!
We've spent the last few days just doing some contacting and planning. Haven't been able to plan too well these past couple of weeks with same companion, so it's going to be a crazy week next week!
Well, do write! I would love to receive more letters!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
We've had a pretty good week. Nothing too eventful. Don't have too much time to write today anyhow, so I'll just update you the best that I can.
We went on exchanges on Thursday, but this time I went out with Elder Colvin, our District Leader. Spent quite a few hours talking to him. It seems that he could tell that I had been changing since the first time he met me at the start of my mission, so we talked about those changes, and how it's been affecting me and missionary. The thing is, I've had two fairly decent companions, but three things that they keep talking about are money, family, and themselves, and so, over the past five months, I've been fairly frustrated. Also, they've always had a comeback to a comment that I make that contradicts a comment or question that I've made or asked, and so, over the past few months, I've closed up and put my guard up. Only with certain people have I really been myself. The other thing we talked about was how I act sometimes. I've started to notice this past year just how immature I've been at times, and, of course, other people have too. So, we talked about how I just need to watch how I act according to my surroundings. We also talked about my spending habits and how I can be more thrifty. Elder Colvin also gave me some advice on how to work with and deal with different people. All in all, it was a great discussion because I learned much about what I can do to change and be the person that I want to be, that my parents want me to be, but most importantly, to be the person that the Lord wants me to be. I've spent this past week reflecting on these things, and it's been good just seeing what I've done, what I'm doing now, and what I can do and work towards in the future.
Elder Colvin and I taught a lady named Jennifer who is in her 40's with a 7 year old daughter. We talked to her about the Plan of Salvation and our purpose in life, and she was pretty receptive. However, she wants someone who is more "experienced" in life, so we're bringing an older member to our next meeting.
The whole week has been filled with rumors about transfers, and the Zone Leaders, who we live with, already knew, and Elder Pace figured out while he was in the office, so they were teasing me about it the whole week! Anyhow, I finally found/figured out that Elder Pace is being transferred to Kota Kinabalu on Monday, and my new companion will be Elder Hoare from Australia. Elder Hoare served in my home ward before I left on the mission so that's funny I guess. The mission is removing the expatriate ward missionaries due to the lack of success, not because of the missionaries but because of the area. So, Elder Ip is going to Petaling Jaya, while Elder Hoare will, well, be with me.
Elder Pace and I had a lesson with Prasanth yesterday, we managed to commit him to a new baptism date, and we taught him about faith. We weren't really making any progress, then Aravin sat down with us and bore his testimony. They are both in similar situations, but we were surprised with Prasanth opened up and started asking Aravin a whole bunch of questions, which Aravin answered, along with bearing his testimony. It was such a wonderfully powerful testimony, and it was a great way to end the night!
Well, we have Zone Conference next week so I won't be writing till Thursday! Have a great week!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Well, we've certainly had a wonderful week! Elder Pace and I did very well with contacting and teaching many people as we traveled around the island, and managed to teach over 130 lessons! We are both so grateful for the opportunity that we have to share the message of the restored gospel each and every week!
The Zone Leaders have started a competition among the different companionship's, and the winner of each set of companionship's gets a free meal at Carl's Jr, dubbed "The C.J. Challenge." But, I have since started on a no fast food/no soda diet for the rest of my mission. The reason for that is because of what I ate last week. For dinner one night, we went to KFC, where I had 2 big pieces of chicken, three smaller pieces, cheese fries, and soda. I felt really sick after that. Also, I have been eating much fast food that has been really unhealthy. And, with a slightly dysfunctional "ticker", as President Skelton likes to call it, I have sworn off the fast food. So, if we do win the challenge, I'll go to Subway instead. Oh! The challenge. Elder Pace and I are pitted against the Filipino Elders, and the challenge is to have 7 investigators each Sunday, two weeks in a row. This past week, we had 8, while Elder Crofts and Elder Bukchuluun had 7, so it's going to be a fight to the end this Sunday!
We were able to make some great progress with the Oon family this week. Because of that challenge, we planned really well, and hard, to get our investigators t9o come. With the Oon family, Brandon had already been consistently coming with his Mom. Christopher, who is only 6, is too young to be counted. Alex, the 16 years old, had time and time again told us that he would come but he never did. On Friday, Elder Pace had to stay at Church to help with the Young Men mutual. So, I went along with Trent, a member around Alex's age, and we headed over to the Oon residence. On the way, we contacted some people. One of them was a man from China, who we struck up a conversation with, and who I taught. It wasn't really going anywhere till I asked Trent to bear his testimony. As he overcame his fear of talking to a stranger, Trent bore a sincere and humble testimony, that turned that man's face from a cheeky smile, to one of inner thought and reflection, and that was wonderful to see, that a young man's simple testimony can sway a perspective to the light.
Anyhow, when we got to the Oon's, Sister Oon still wasn't back, so Trent talked to Alex, while I talked to their helper, to whom we had given a copy of the Book of Mormon to in Tagalog. It turns out that she had been reading it each night and had read up all the way to Mosiah! I was so excited, so Trent and I taught her a lesson right there and then. When Sister Oon got back, we taught them about keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and committed them to all coming to Church. This time though, we really emphasized the point of coming to Church. Alex said that he didn't think he could because he had a major exam on Monday. But, we promised him that if he came to Church just for sacrament meeting, that he would be blessed for it. We also committed Sister Oon to switch her sons' tuition times so that they wouldn't be on Sunday, so we'll have to see how all that goes.
We were able to teach Moses again, and we'll be teaching him again tomorrow. He is progressing well, and gaining a testimony, so we'll be doing our best to set a baptism date with him in the very near future. Jovian is away in Australia for the next couple of weeks, but we gave him the addresses to the chapels there, along with the address of the temple there, so hopefully he has time to go, and we'll be continuing to teach him when he gets back. He is definitely doing better now. He talked to his Mom about his faith and belief in the Church. But, as a staunch Presbyterian, she unfortunately still is not too fond with the idea. We're working on it! Peter, our recent convert, has been calling members and bothering them, a long with some other personal problems, so it's been a hectic week trying to help him solve it. He's a great kid, but just needs some guidance and direction.
Yesterday, Elder Pace, Elder Ogden (a visa runner), and I, taught two young men named Eugene and Keith. They are both Christian, and very knowledgeable. It was refreshing to have a discussion with people who actually know what they are talking about. More often than not, we have people who are ignorant of what we believe in, but make judgements anyway. These two didn't, and were open to what we were teaching. As we answered their questions and talked to them about the apostasy and restoration, my faith and testimony grew, and I gained a stronger testimony of the restoration for myself.
We were able to go to a nursing home yesterday to sing for the elderly there, while Elder Kwok played the violin. We plan to do it every week for service from now on. It was fun and great to be able to entertain these older people, who paved the way for us, to build up the world and make it a better place for us. Sometimes, I think about how my parents will be older someday, and how much I love them, so I had better start showing more love and respect to the elderly now!
Of course, the joy of our week was Aravin's baptism! After more than 8 months of learning, he entered the water of baptism on October 18th. As I mentioned last week, I was disappointed that I wasn't able to participate in the baptism. Well, I was able to. Beacause Bishop was supposed to preside, but said that he wasn't coming, Brother Soh, of the Bishopric had to preside. They needed a new witness for the baptism, and so Glen, our Ward Mission Leader, asked Elder Pace to be a witness with him, though they both had roles in the baptism. Boy, was I mad. But, at the last moment, Glen asked me to take this place, and I was really happy to be able to be a witness. After the baptism, I realized just how childish I had been, thinking how unfairn it had been. But then, I realized that the real joy came from teaching Aravin each week, and seeing him change as the gospel changed his life. That opportunity to help him see the joy in the gospel is something that I will always remember and love. So, in the end, it didn't really matter what I did get to do, because I have already found that happiness in doing my part to bring one of Heavenly Father's children back to Him.
The last thing that I wanted to leave with you all today was something that I learned from Jesus the Christ by the late Elder James E. Talmage, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Talmage talks of the disciples in Matthew 17:24-27, where the disciples could not comprehend the fact that the Savior would soon be crucified and killed. The savior had told them before and was repeating it, but they failed to understand what he said. Elder Talmage explains it as such:
"The thought of what the Lord's words might mean, even in the faintest outline,
was terrifying to these devoted men; and their failure to comprehend was in part
due to the fact that the human mind is loath to search deeply into anything it desires not to believe."
As I pondered on that statement, I thought of how frightened and confused the disciples must have felt that their Lord would soon be taken from them. But, what I really gained from that was the understanding of why so many people are unwillingly to listen to what we teach, and who are unwilling to change their ways. So many people hear things about what we teach, and are told by their friends and pastors that we are this, and we are that. But what they don't realize is that that point of view is very much one-sided. As such, they aren't willing to listen. But, even if they are willing to listen, and it makes sense to them, even if the Spirit touches their hearts, they are more often than not unwillingly to change, simple because they are unable to get past their preconceived notions, and search more for the truth that lies just in front of them.
That's the end for this week! Take care! Please do send some letters! :)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Anyhow, we have been trying to get a fresh pool of investigators, because we have been stuck with a stagnant pool these past couple of weeks that we haven't been able to do much with. We spent the first couple of days after preparation day last week making calls to people whom we previously got numbers from. We were able to get a few new investigators from those numbers, so that definitely helped a bit. On Friday, we spent the evening with the Young Men in the ward. Their leaders all had other things to attend to, and so we created a sort or gospel jeopardy game for them, which turned out to be really fun and informative for them, so that definitely was a highlight of the week. We also played some ball games with them after that.
We spent the weekend watching General Conference. On Saturday, we stayed for all the sessions. On Sunday, we watched the first session at Church then went over to the Lai's for lunch, and to watch the final session of Conference. General Conference was amazing! I loved Elder Perry's talk on looking at the simpler things in life, and not being caught up in the ways of the world, always wanting more material things, but nothing of the spiritual. I thought that it paired well with Sister Dalton's talk on members of the church needing to be an ensign to the nations. I was talking to Brother Petersen about the current economic crisis, and he mentioned that this might be the best time to talk to people about the gospel of Jesus Christ. As sad as it sounds, it is only in times of great need that many people turn to God for comfort and reason. But, the world is as such, humility is so scare in this world. But, we press forward, and we hope to be able to take this "opportunity in opposition" and spread the gospel of peace, the gospel of joy, and what truly brings us happiness in this life, aside from the shallow, materialistic things of this world. As duly ordained missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we hope to be able to share this message with the world.
We are now teaching Yalie, an investigator from France who is Asian by blood, but who is completely French. She is a model in Singapore, but very different from the stereotype of most models. For one thing, she is a mother, and takes her son everywhere around. She's been very nice and willing to listen to the gospel, so we are hoping to be able to help her see the plan that the Lord has for us. It is really interesting to be able to meet people from different parts of the world. Speaking of meeting people from different parts of the world, while we were with Yalie, a man from Hong Kong approached me, and stared at my tag. I started to talk to him. When I asked him why he was here, he said that he was here to commit suicide. I was shocked! Elder Pace came up and joined in the conversation, and we agreed to talk to him about his problems. When we met up with him, we found a member who could speak Cantonese, who was with the Mandarin Elders, who decided to join us too. It turns out that this 40 year old man, Eddie, has wanted for years to fulfill his dream of studying in Australia. Unfortunately, he does not have the finances, and so, is here to find a benefactor. If not, he said, there would be no point to his life. He said that he had a life insurance on himself, and that he would be able to pay whoever lent him the money back within ten years. If not, he would kill himself and pay back double the money he had borrowed. So, we talked to him about how he did have a purpose in life, about how we all have different goals, and how we just can't reach them sometimes. We also showed him the "Finding Happiness" DVD, talked with him for a bit more, gave him a copy of The Book of Mormon. We then had him to pray, and sent him on his way. I hope all works out for him. I guess the lesson that I learned was that some people in this life are so focused on something that they want, that they don't realize why they really are here on this Earth, or they do not realize that there are different alternatives and solutions to different problems.
We are now teaching a man named Moses who found the Woodlands Elders' name card on the floor, and called. We happened to pick up their phone and found out that he is in our area. We've been able to teach him a couple of times now. It seems that he has been having "bad" and "dirty" thoughts in his mind for the last twenty or so years, and has been taking medication, but to no avail. So, we are teaching him about how the Savior can help him, and we are preparing him and helping him to build enough faith in the Lord and his restored Church so that we can give him a priesthood blessing, and have him healed. He is a very humble man and we like him a lot so we'll have to see how it goes. He speaks Mandarin a lot more than English, so I have been able to use my Mandarin! We are also teaching Linda again, our former investigator from China. I was on exchanges yesterday with Elder Madsen, and we taught her about faith. The problem, she said, is that she needs to see before she can believe, so we're going to have to try and help her to work around that.
Lastly, Aravin is getting baptized on Saturday so we are really happy! The only thing is that I haven't been asked to participate in any way even though I've been teaching him since the beginning, for the last four months. Elder Pace is giving a talk though. I guess I'm just sad and disappointed that they didn't ask me to do anything. I guess it really doesn't matter because I played my part in bringing him to the waters of baptism, and that is all that really matters, to bring one of Heavenly Father's children back to him. But I can't help but feel sad that they didn't deem what I have done important enough to play a part that I put so much time and effort into. It would have been nice.
Oh well, I guess that I can find my joy in laboring, as it says in D&C 18:15, "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one a soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" I have been able to do that, and I am learning that that is all that really matters.
Well that sums up the week, and my reflections, take care and God Bless!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Well, we had a relatively good week! We had a few good appointments, and also had some great experiences. First of all, Aravin passed his baptismal interview, so he is being baptised on October 18th. We are so excited that he decided not to firewalk, but instead, has decided to take that leap of faith to join the Church. Peter, our recent convert, has been very helpful and active in helping us with our lessons
A few days ago, while we were waiting for Peter at church, a member approached us and said that there was a man smoking in the car park. By the time we got down, he was done smoking. He was waiting to deliver some food for a function and had come early. He still had some time left, so we invited him to come up with us and learn and he agreed. Ye Hua, from China, turned out to be one of the best people whom I have ever taught. Since he only understood Mandarin, I taught him with that member who also spoke Mandarin. Elder Pace stayed with Peter. It was a wonderful lesson where I know that we all felt the Spirit, when I really understood the wonderful Plan of Salvation that our Heavenly Father has for us. It is wonderful to know that God gave us our families, and that he loves us, that he knows each one of us, and has a plan for each of His Children.
We also had an audio visual cantata this past weekend, which was pretty successful. I was privileged to teach many a lesson this week with the sprit as I contacted, no that I haven’t been. It is just that I have come to really feel and understand now how to teach with the Spirit daily.
The best thing I’d like to leave with you is something that I have learned this week about faith and obedience. I’m handwriting this letter for my mom to type as I have limited time. So, till next week! God Bless! Oh! I’ve suddenly stopped receiving letters, so if you feel inclined to write ( or not), please do write! Remember the promise ( contest)!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
We had a wonderful week! This past week was Zone Conference, and we received some wonderful training from President Skelton and the Assistants. President Skelton talked to us about the importance of the Restoration. In order to fully understand just how much Heavenly Father loves us, we went throughout the first topic in the first lesson in Chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel. Line by line, we went through that topic, and found scriptures that proved the statements in there. Along with that, President also emphasised the absolute importance of the First Vision. Without that first experience that Joseph Smith had, this Church would not be on this Earth today. Thus, he said, that we need to have a solid testimony and faith that the First Vision did indeed happen, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ did indeed appear to the boy Joseph Smith, and they did indeed call him to be a prophet in these latter days. I really do agree with that. The First Vision forms the foundation of God's restored Church on this Earth. Because of that experience, we know that the Lord still speaks to His children, and he has called prophets and apostles in the land again.
The Assistants gave us a training on how we can more effectively use members in missionary work. We read through parts of Preach My Gospel, where President Hinckley mentioned that member missionary work is essential, that conversion, lasting conversion is found most especially in the work that members participate in. We were trained on how we can teach members how to extend commitments, to talk to their friends and to help them gain a stronger faith and testimony in the Church. I was able to perform in a quartet that sang a beautiful arrangement of "Have I Done Any Good?"
Other than that, we have a few investigators that are progressing well. Jovian is progressing, but the only problem is still his Mom. He is too afraid to talk to her, so we're trying to help him build enough faith to be able to stand up for what he believes in. We all are shoved against the wall of faith one time or another, so he really does have to decide soon.
With Aravin, he is just deciding whether or not he wants to fire walk for the last time for the sake of his Grandmother. We hope he doesn't. One, so that he can be baptized next week. The other reason is that if he can forsake that tradition and go ahead with this baptism, his faith will increase by leaps and bounds, knowing that he really did sacrifice something for the gospel.
Well, the last bit of exciting news, WE HAVE MY FIRST BAPTISM ON SATURDAY!!!! Peter will be baptized on Saturday at 6p.m. at the Bukit Timah Stake Center. So, for those of you who are in Singapore, please come! I'll be performing the baptism so I'm way excited and happy. More that that though, I'm grateful for this wonderful opportunity.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Well, we've definitely had a long week, partially due to the fact that preparation day was pushed till today because of Zone Conference. First, the good news.... we have our first baptism scheduled! Our investigator, Peter, is a 24 year old man that is a little mentally slow, but he loves the gospel and knows that it is true! We've had to work with him on remembering the things that we have been teaching him, but other than that, he's willing to go out and do missionary work! He's asked for pamphlets and name cards to give out. He has his baptismal interview tomorrow, and if all goes well, he'll be baptized on Friday! We're way excited and glad that the work is moving on in this area, with many more baptisms to come!
We're teaching a bunch of other people that are doing well. Their major concern are their families, who, more often than not, are severely opposed to them joining the Church. We're doing our best to help them build up the faith to the point that if they know it is true, then nothing else matters!
Been thinking a lot about my past companion, and my current one. They are similar in some ways, but different in many other ways too. I've come to realize that people are just different, and we have to accept them for who we are. To be honest, it's been very hard for me, especially since my temper runs on a shorter fuse than most. My Mom sent Elder Pace S. a package a few days ago. When she wrote to tell me that she had, I was extremely upset that she had done that,. and felt that she had betrayed me. Thankfully, there wasn't much that I could do about it. After a few days, as I pondered on it, I realized that my Mom was doing the right thing in forgiving him, because our companionship consisted of the both of us, and I played a part in that relationship. It's hard to forgive sometimes, but you just have to do it and move on! It was a very hard lesson to learn, but I got through the test! I called Elder Pace S. a few days ago to clear up any bad blood between us and it seemed to work out well. I guess that when you look at the grand scheme of things, there really is no point in being petty about other people's faults. We all make mistakes, and we learn from them, along with learning from other people. I'm definitely learning much patience and tolerance on my mission, though it still can be very hard at times. But, the Savior loved everyone, so I'm just trying my best to do the same. The Lord really does not give us any trial that we can't overcome. Though it might be very very hard, I've learned that through true humility, we can overcome all, because we get to a stage where we learn to forgive everyone around us, but more importantly, we forgive ourselves.
We've had a whole bunch of dinner appointments and they have been wonderful. The members are great, and it is definitely fun to inspire them in their quest to do missionary work. We've been working with the Bishop to work on that. Unfortunately, the ward and the Bishop don't have such a good relationship, so we're trying to help out with that, and build the member's faith in the Lord, so that they can help us, and not be so easily offended.
Just a few days ago, we had an appointment with Peter. After that, we showed him where the baptismal font was. After we said goodbye to him, we saw a Relief Society Enrichment Meeting going on where they had been baking. We managed to worm our way in to get some free goodies, and offered to wash the dishes after that. Unfortunately, as I was washing one of the bowls, it slipped and broke in the sink, cutting my finger. That wasn't the bad part though. When we told the sister, she put her hands up to her mouth. That was the reaction from a couple of other sisters. It was a really nice gift that she had received from a friend and I felt horrible.I kept apologizing, then went on our way, planning to buy a new bowl for her. The next day, we went into the office to get some stuff. And, lo and behold, there was a container of cookies from me. It turns out that she had baked those cookies and told the office Elders to make sure that I did not but her a new bowl, she would be angry if I did. What love and forgiveness! Even though I broke her bowl, she brought cookies! That is the pure love of Christ that I wish I had, that I hope I will be able to develop someday.
My uncle from Thailand visited, and it was wonderful to see him. We were able to arrange a lesson with him, and my Mom now tells me that he'll read what we gave him. I love my family very much and hope that they will all accept the gospel someday.
I never really did missionary work in high school. After watching the "By Small and Simple Things" production, I'm now working with the expatriate Elders to pass out copies of The Book of Mormon with my testimony in it. The goal is to get the members in the ward to write their testimonies in it too and pass it on to teachers and friends that we have in common!
Last night, we had dinner at a member's home, along with the Shutes. Had a great time, and Shute gave the spiritual thought. It was on prayer and just how important it is. He shared the story of the brother of Jared in Ether 2, about his experience where he was admonished by God for not "calling upon the name of the Lord." It is so important for us to pray daily, to thank the Lord, and also to seek his advice. He also talked about the financial crisis hitting the world now, and how the Brethren have always counseled us to have food storage, and not to speculate too much in financial markets. So, have food storage! :) The last thing that he talked about was about the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. As he bore his testimony, he told us of a group of apostate scholars who meet every half year, on the Sunday evening as General Conference ends. They get together to critique the Brethren, and also try their best to discredit The Book of Mormon. Unfortunately for them, they still haven't, that's why they have to keep meeting!
It was a wonderful week, but it's also been exhausting. Missionary work is definitely not what I expected it to be in many aspects. But, when I had to come home the first time, I realized what I had lost. So, I just continue on, knowing that the Lord is helping and guiding me along the path. Thanks for the letters I've been receiving! They're slowing down though, so do keep them coming!
Elder Ee Chien Chua
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Elder Pace T. and I have been able to work together in love and unity to acheive this, and the Spiritof the Lord really has been with us to help us move the work along in our area.
I don't have much time to write today, soI guess I'lldo my best to cover all the main points.
We went on exchanges this week, where I was companions with Elders Longmore and Taimoni. We had a good time at the office, talking to people and learningto love each othermore. Elder Pace T. and Elder Colvin taught one ofour new investigators from Nicaragua who is a devout Catholic. She wasn't too happy that they appeared at her doorstep. But, as they taught her about the restoration of the gospel, she really opened up, so we'll definitely be teaching her again! That nitght, Elders Pace and Colvin were able to meet up with my parents for dinner, and share with them the message of The Plan of Salvation. It seems that they hadagreat time, and were able to teach my Dad more about the gospel. I was really happyto hear that, and hope thatthat will be able to continue. I love my parents so much, and hope that we can be sealed in the temple for all time and eternity someday!
A couple of days later, we were able to meet upwith a few of my Aunts and Uncle, two of them who are visiting from Hawaii, who are Charismatics and who have just finished a four year mission for their Church. Elder Pace T., Elder Taimoni and I were able to teach them about the restoration. Oh! What a powerful lesson it was. We worked together with such power and unity. The Spirit there was so strong and I know that they felt it, because we all felt it aswe boreour testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and of The Book of Mormon, and thelove that God has for each one of his children.
On Sunday, Elder Pace qand Iwere able to present a new wardmissionplan, to get the membersmore involved with the work. It waswonderful tosee the members getting excitedabout the work.
0Lastly, for District Meeting, Elder Colvin played a video called "By Smal and Simple Things" put together by the California San Jose Mission. It wasam amazingly spiritualand inspirational video about how amazing and important member missionary work is. You can watch the video on this link. In fact, I chanllege you allto watch it, to inspire you, and to see and feelthe blessings of the Lord inyourlife, and just how much he loves each one of His children.
Well, I gotto go! I'll only be writing on Friday of next week because of Zone Conference!
Love you all!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
It's been a crazy week! The whole mission has been going loco! We had six emergency transfers happen! So poor President Skelton has had to deal with a bunch of problems. First of all, we had the emergency transfer with my companionship. My new companion, Elder Pace T, is from Mesa, AZ, and he is a really great guy. He works really hard, but also has fun at the same time. We have had a lot of success this week, the best week that I've had so far! We taught over a hundred lessons, and for the investigators that we have with a baptism date, well, it went up from two to eight, so we're working hard, but also working smart! We've been calling a lot of former investigators to see if they want to learn again, and it has been very successful! We also are contacting some of my relatives and parents friends to see if they are willing to learn! We're meeting with a couple of them later on this week, so hopefully something comes of it!
One of my favorite Elders got thrown in jail for a second time because of visa issues. He finally got out and is back in Singapore now, but he can't get back into Malaysia, so they are short of a Zone Leader there, and they're trying to work something out. One of our Zone Leaders in Singapore had to go home because of some family problems at home in Sri Lanka, where there is a civil war raging, so we're praying that all will work out for him. So, we've had a whole mess of Elders moving all around the mission! So, I'm now the longest-staying missionary in our apartment, so many changes! But, I know that the Lord has His hand in all of this, and we have to just trust and follow Him.
Been having headaches/dizzy spells these past couple of weeks, so I had an MRI done. The results seem fine, but if they continue to persist, I'll probably go back to the doctor for another consultation. The neurologist thinks it's just stress-tension headaches, so I guess we'll see how it goes and pray that all goes well.
Our investigators are doing well and are progressing. We have Aravin, who is praying about whether or not he should perform a couple of Hindu rituals for the sake of his family before he gets baptized, or to just go for it. We respect his decision either way, and I can definitely understand the situation that he is in. He will definitely get baptized though, because Michelle, his girlfriend, a member, and him want and are planning to get married in the temple, the house of the Lord! :) Prasanth is Michelle's brother's best friend who has been coming to Church and who has taken a couple of discussions. He has accepted a baptism date, but he has to work it out with his family, because he is only sixteen. While going through our list of former investigators, we found a report about a boy named Jovian, who was found by some sister missionaries three years ago. We've been able to meet up with him, and he knows that the Church is true! He came for Stake Conference and loved a talk that was given about it being a commandment that every worthy and able male of the Church should serve a mission. The only downside is that he has some problems with his leg and spine, so he has to walk with crutches. He has for the past six years. We are doing our best to help him reach the waters of baptism. He almost did three years ago, and we're not letting him go this time. He is a great kid, and we hope that all will be alright. The only problem is his family. His Mom is a staunch Presbyterian, and she is openly opposed to the Church. It seems that the problem that we keep facing in Singapore is the family. I guess it has both it's pros and cons. In Asia, the family really is the central unit of society, and we grow up with the mentality that family is always first, which is good. The thing that irks me a little about that is that people give up their free agency, their right to choose. It almost seems that they are double-knotted to their Mom's apron strings, and there is no way to get out of that tangle. Honestly, I really do believe that our biggest challenge that we face are the families of our investigators.
But, all we do is to go forth in faith. As it says in Doctrine & Covenants 128:22, "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.
We just need to go on to victory! We can all do our part to have all those around us have "a feeling of exquisite wonder for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and plant in them that seed of faith, hope, and charity, that will help them to know of the truths of this restored gospel. Have courage and faith, and the Lord will build the rest!
Do write! Take care!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I'm done with my In-field training and I am now a fully trained missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! :)
As for the week, we had a great week in terms of people who we were able to teach this week, and our lessons with our investigators have gone pretty well. With the Oon family, we were ably to teach Brandon and Christopher, the two younger brothers of Alex. For some reason, Alex seems to have lost interest, but Brandon is doing great! He has been getting his Mom to bring him to Church every Sunday for the last few weeks, so we are definitely very happy with his progress. We will just have to continue working with him and hope that his parents consent to him being baptized when the time comes. We got caught in the rain on the way down and got pretty wet, though we were able to stay sufficiently dry, because a woman who was walking happened to have two umbrellas. We were able to talk to her and she said that she had already met with the Sisters before. Hopefully, this particular meeting will re-spark the flame in her.
Elder Nixon, one of our Zone Leaders, headed back home yesterday! It was definitely sad to see him go, but we now have Elder Tuckfield, and he is also a great person. Went on an exchange with him on Monday, and that went really well, especially since we have a lot of the same interests. In addition, he is also good friends with one of my best friend's family.
We were able to go over to our Elders Quorum President's home for dinner on Thursday, where we able to discuss less-actives. In addition, I was able to talk to his inactive son, who I knew very well and who used to be very active in the Church. Unfortunately, he has fallen by the wayside, so we'll just have to try and get him back on the path again. He is still a great kid, and says that he remembers the good feelings that he had at Church. Unfortunately, he doesn't really know what to do about it anymore.
Taught, Alex, my grade-school friend once again. We don't really know what to do anymore since he won't commit for Church, and since he's already been taught so many lessons. I guess that we'll just have to try and work with him on that, though he is in Thailand for the next week or so.
Aravin, the member's boyfriend, gave a us a surprise when we met up with him late last week. We had been pondering whether or not to ask him how he felt about the Church and whether or not he wanted to be baptized. Before the lesson, he told us that he needed to tell us something, and we weren't sure what to expect. He said then that he wanted to be baptized! Oh! That was wonderful! He just has to work on his family, but he is a legal adult so he doesn't need their consent. He has to figure out how to explain to them his decision, because there are certain rituals that he wants to do one last time, like fire walking! We know that he will receive an answer as he prays about it, and we hope that that answer will be good.
Changes! Elder Pace S. is being transferred to P.J., Malaysia, tomorrow. It definitely is bittersweet because he is/was my first companion, and we did alright together, though these past couple of weeks, and especially these past couple of days have been pretty stressful. He wasn't working too hard, and the leaders started noticing, so we talked to him about it, and since then, has been a very angry person, and it has been very tense between us, such that I got sick, and have had high blood pressure because of that. But, I still think he is a good guy, it will be nice to have a change though. My new companion, Elder Pace T. comes in tomorrow. The members are going to have a ball of a time when they see that they have the same last name. Change is definitely good. And I guess we just all have to accept that wherever we are, they is a reason for it, and we have to look at the bigger pictures. Changes can really be for better or for worse, but I guess we just take them as they come. Perhaps what I have learned the most in these past three or so months, is as Victor Frankl said, "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
We will be having Stake Conference on Sunday, so that definitely should be great. District meeting was wonderful as per normal. Elder Colvin taught a lesson on what our purpose as missionaries really is, and that was a good refresher, to remind us what our purpose and duty as missionaries.
I guess that we'll have to see what this week brings!