Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"The Wall of Faith"


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

"Forgiveness and Charity"


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

"By Small and Simple Things"

What a great week that we have had. In the past two weeks, we have gone from having two baptism dates set withour investigators to eleven baptism dates!

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

"Courage, Brethren!"

Well well,

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!