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

"The Human Mind"

Me, Aravin, Sadesh, Elder Pace

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

"Faith Obedience"

Well, we've certainly had an eventful week. There were definitely a few days that stood out more than others. Before I dive into the week, I wanted to talk about "faith obedience," which I mentioned last week but did not have the time to write about. I was reading an article in the New Era a couple weeks ago, and one of the mentioned a statement by President Packer, who said, "Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God... We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see." I believe that statement, and have come to learn just how true it in on my mission. When you look at the world around us today, you see the chaos and turmoil. But, as we look towards the commandments that the Lord has given us, we then see what He has taught us in His infinite wisdom, and how "Obedience in Exactness" can help us to accomplish the things the Lord requires of us, and receive the promised blessings.

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


Hi Everyone

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

"Plus One"

Me, Peter, and Elder Pace - September 27th, 2008

Well, we had our first baptism together as a companionship, and the first baptism of my mission! I had the privilege of baptizing Peter, which turned out to be quite an adventure in itself. Wheen we got there, we showed Peter the baptismal font as it was bring filled up. Peter flipped and grabbed on to Elder Pace's arm really tightly. We had another investigator there named Jovian who has a leg problem who got just a little scared because it took five times before Peter got baptized.

First of all, the baptismal service started late because we were waiting for Peter's relatives. We then started the service and got through all the normal points. The time came for Peter to be baptized, and we headed to the baptismal font. As Peter walked into the water, he stopped and said "It's so cold." I took a minute or two of convincing to get inton the water. As we got into position, we kept being told to move around so that we were in the right position. After five minutes, we got into the right position. The first time, Peter's toe popped out of the water, so we had to do it again. The next three times, Peter got more and more nervous and scared, so Elder Pace and I had to calm him down. On the fifth (or sixth) try, I managed to get him all the way underwater, amidst some stumbling and falling.

As we were changing, Elder Pace asked Peter how he felt, and Peter's response was that he felt refreshed! After we had changed, and finished up the rest of the service, we headed to the kitchen to have some refreshments. There, we were able to talk to Peter's Uncle, Aunt, and cousin. At first, there were a little guarded against us, and they asked why Peter had been baptized so soon. We explained that when someone feels the Spirit and knows it's true, they get baptized and recive the Holy, and from then on continue to progress. They warmed up to us after that. It turns out that Peter's Uncle (Mr. Tshe) has worked with our Stake Patriarch before, so he was very friendly. It turns out that the three of them also go to three different Churches, so they are very open to any Church. In fact, Mr. Tshe wants us to teach Peter's younger brother, who has been getting into trouble with the law, so we'll definitely see how that goes. All in all, it was wonderful, and Peter was confirmed a member of the Church, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday.
Other than that, we've had a good week. We met a great new investigator from China that Elder Pace and I pulled off the street into the Church after one of our appointments had just cancelled. We had a wonderful lesson with him about who God is, and committed him to coming to Church and accepting a baptism date.
Oh! Amazing news! Aravin has confirmed that he wants to be baptized on October the 11th! We're so excited that he has cjosen not to firewalk and taken that leap of faith to be baptized. His baptismal interview is scheduled for this Saturday, and the baptism will follow the next Saturday!
So, "plus one" this past week, and "plus two" next week!