Wednesday, January 28, 2009



I hope that you are all having a good week, and for those of you wonderful Chinese people, Xin Nian Quai Le! We've had a relatively slow week, since it's been Chinese New Year over here, and everyone's taking a break. The majority of shops were closed for three days, so there wasn't really anyone around to talk to. But, we persevered and the Lord blessed us. In the past two days, we've had eight new investigators! Aside from that, we've had a few lessons, and we have more set up for this week. We're waiting for supplies to come in, and we're getting rather anxious because we're almost our of The Restoration pamphlets, and we're completely out of planners for the missionaries, aside from a few in Malaysia that will go soon too.

Well, I wanted to focus more on what I've learned in personal study this past week. Elder Palfreyman has been wonderful in helping me to study harder and smarter, and it has made a huge difference.

I've been studying the Old Testament Study Manual, and I've been learning much. When I first started, I really wasn't getting much out of it, and I was really ready to give up on it. I was mentioning that to Elder Palfreyman. What he told me really changed my study perspective. He said that I could get so much more out of the manual if I could see how its teachings, and the teachings in the Old Testament could be applied in my life. I thought about that for awhile and decided to try it out, and, it works! Elder Palfreyman also helped me to see the beauty of Preach My Gospel. To be completely honest, for most of my mission, I have thought of the book as an overrated guide to what we teach, especially since we're counseled to teach by the Spirit. Thus, I never read it. But, Elder Palfreyman gave us a challenge to select a part of the book and study it. So, I decided to start of with the first chapter about my purpose as a missionary. Wow! The insights I gained and the knowledge I absorbed was amazing! It truly is a book that was put together by the Brethren through the inspiration and guidance of the Lord! I've been able to more firmly understand my purpose now. I strongly encourage anyone going on a mission to prayerfully study this wonderful guide.

This week, I studied the article that I mentioned last week, and, what I learned from it was amazing. The Atonement of Jesus Christ has become a lot more personal to me now. There is so much to do and learn in this life, there is so much in the gospel that is fascinating and exciting. There are doctrines to be discussed and histories to be studied. The Restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith was essential for this last dispensation. The Plan of Salvation is a wonderful plan that a loving Heavenly Father has given us. But, one thing I learned: with out the Atonement of Jesus Christ, there would be no hope, no reason for us to live. But, because of this singular act of supreme selflessness and sacrifice, all that is wrong will be made right, all that is pain will be free. It is almost bewildering to start to understand the concept of the Atonement, but it happened. I know it did. All this happened because a very loving Father in Heaven wanted all His children to return to Him. It would cause Him much pain and suffering to see His only Begotten Son to go through this act, but it had to be done. A Father's love was what allowed this to happen. That love was what allowed a Son to sacrifice all He had for His brothers and sisters, whom he loves equally. As I have come to in a small sense comprehend this act, I have to come to understand the need for us to repent and do our best to not sin. One thing that never clicked in my mind is the fact that the only reason why sin is in this world, the only reason for sin is because man is disobedient to God's commandments. I never put that two and two together before. But now, it's as clear as day. Obedience is the first law of Heaven, because once you break that law, you have sinned. And so, I have now strengthened my resolve to be exactly obedient to the Lord's commandments, and in some measure be able to reap the blessings of that obedience. I also learned more about the importance of the sacrament. When Christ showed Himself to the people in the Americas, He wanted them to be in contact with the physical emblems of His suffering. Today, that contact is through the Sacrament, the symbols of His sacrifice. The word sacrament comes from the root word sacrare which is the act of consecrating. I then made the connection! When we consecrate our performances, and ourselves to the Lord, we're becoming one with Him! The word atonement comes from the root at-one! So, when we partake of the sacrament, we're supposed to remember the covenants to be "at one" with the Savior, whose supreme at was to unite us to Him, to unite soul and body together, in short, a reconciliation. And so, I am now going to really take the sacrament to heart.

Lastly, I was able to give District Training on Tuesday, using this article. A commitment that I gave was that each companionship should use the Atonement in everyone of their lessons, so we'll see how that helps!

Well, thanks for reading. Take care. I love and miss you all!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"The Root of Christian Doctrine"

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

I hope that all goes well for everyone, and that you've all had a decent week. The missionary work continues to go forth in this part of the world, like a rough stone rolling! I was looking at the Singapore Mission statistics ending November 2007. It showed that out of the 359 million people that live in our mission boundaries, only 9021 are members! Though the mission has shrunk drastically since the mission split, there are still millions of people who are waiting to listen to this marvelous gospel, we have a lot to do!

We had a relatively quiet week, what with our star investigator moving back to Myanmar, and people preparing for Chinese New Year. We were able to meet up with Angelina, the wife of a less-active member a couple of times this week. She is a wonderful lady who has been diligent in studying the Book of Mormon, and asking revel ant questions to gain a deeper understanding of it's teachings. She still has many doubts, but she is willing to learn, and bit by bit, we're helping her to see that those doubts are unfounded. Last night, she accepted a baptism date for March 15! It's been great to see how she has progressed these past couple of weeks. It was a little humorous to see her calculating somehow to see if that date was auspicious for her to be baptized. In Chinese culture, when someone is making a big step in their lives, such as marriage, they consult the Chinese calender to see if it is a good day. Interesting concept really.

Anyhow, we met up with two new investigators on Monday, Steven from Singapore, and Dildeyal from Myanmar. They are both great guys whom we look forward to teaching. Steven is a man in his mid-forties who has had some rough patches in life, and, is unfortunately going through that right now, with not-so-savory characters trying to get him to pay them the debts that he owes them. But, he has been turning to the Lord to give him strength and direction. We can't provide any physical protection or what not, but it was great to see how he absorbed the message of the Restoration, and said that he would read The Book of Mormon and pray about it. It's good to see that people still put God first even in tough times. Dildeyal was a man that we met on the MRT, and who is working in Singapore. We brought him over to Pheonix's home, and taught him about the Restoration also. He is Buddhist/Hindu, but is willing to learn about another religion. He's a humble man and will be wonderful to teach, so we're looking forward to that.

Well, Chinese New Year's Eve is coming up this Sunday. The Stake Presidency issued a directive that Church could be shortened to two hours to accommodate the reunion dinners. I've never heard of that happening before, and I'm a little perplexed by it, but, I guess it's been approved.

Hope that you all have a great week ahead of you! To close, I read a really great article in a BYU Magazine, about The Root of Christian Doctrine. The author talked about hoe the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the central message of all Christian teachings, and how we each have to apply it in all that we teach and do. He quoted President Boyd. K. Packer as saying that:

"The Atonement of Christ] is the very root of Christian doctrine. You may know much about the gospel as it branches out from there, but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch that root, if they have been cut free from that truth, there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them."

I thought it very simple but profound. I hope that we can all keep that thought in our minds and hearts, and do read the article if you have time. I'll post the link up here. Take care and God bless!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Missionary Work is Amazing


Well, we had a pretty normal week. The work in the office continues to go well, and I've adjusted well to it. It is very interesting to see how the Church runs administratively. They have a great number of wonderful programs that allows everything to run smoothly. It's also been great being able to work with President Skelton closely, and to see how the Spirit inspires him and helps him as he does the Lord's work.

Yesterday, we had our mission tour where we had Elder Hallstrom of the First Quorum of the Seventy come train us on missionary work. Before that though, they had assigned us talk topics, and four of us would be selected to speak. I was convinced that I wouldn't have to since I was leading the music and performing a musical number. But, lo and behold, I was called to give a talk on personal worthiness. I definitely could have prepared better, but I think it went well overall. Through peparing for the talk, I came to understand in a deeper way, the difffernce between having clean hands, and having a pure heart. Elder Palfreyman explained it in a great way, where we can have clean hands because we are afraid of the consequences, or we're just participating in Church, and obeying the commandments because we have to. But, as I came to understand, having a pure heart means being able to appreciate what the Lord has done for us, to be able to draw on it, and do all that we can to be righteous because of our love for the Lord.

Anyhow, the training was wonderful, Elder and Sister Hallstrom gave great talks about how we need to be able to sense the urgency needed in missionary work, and the need to be obedient. Sister Hallstrom used a great example from the life of the prophet Nehemiah, and the urgency that he felt. It was uplifting and we had a great day.

Aside from that, we've been working on Mimi, our investigator, who belives in God and Jesus Christ, but who also believes in praying to Buddha. She says that if she can only pray to one, she'd pick Buddha. So, we're going to try tonight to help her understand that the Atonement of Christ is the only way, especially since Christ is the son of God, while Buddha was an enlightened man.

We've been spending most of our time finding people to teach, and I'm starting to appreciate more and more how I have the opprtunity right now to testify of Jesus Christ. I am so greateful for that. We almost got kicked out of a nativity exhibit for talking about the gospel, because the council of Churches in Singapore don't like us too much, and in a sense publicly humiliated us, but we just took it in our stride. We did our best to show Christian courage and show Christlike love for them.

I'm also appreciative being able to make many new aquaintances and friends. It's been wonderful being able to serve with people who I love, who in turn love the Lord. It is such a blessing to be a missionary. We've had a lot of fun and craziness at the same time, and it's great to see that we're all normal people who love to have clean , wholesome fun, though we do stupid things sometimes too. Elder Palfreyman and I have been getting close to Elder Mattox and Elder Merrill, who are two wonderful Elders.

Missionary work is amazing! Take care and have an awesome week!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"O That I Were An Angel"

Happy New Year!

Well, it's finally the new year! We've had a pretty decent start to the year, nothing too exciting, but just consistency as the work goes on. Unfortunately, Elder Palfreyman and I didn't have too many appointments this week, so we spent a decent amount of time finding, which I really don't like too much, but am trying to develop a love for it.

I had a really great experience with finding this week, that really boosted my confidence in doing that. We were down by Harborfront, a mall, well, right by the harbor. There were a bunch of people sitting around, and, in the midst of them, I saw a pillar.. no.... I saw a young man sitting there playing his PSP. The thing that scared me just a little was that he was bigger than me, buff, along with some tattoos. But, with a little courage mustered from somewhere within me, and a little push by the Spirit, I went up to him and had one of the best finding experiences of my mission. When we first walked up to him, he was pretty surprised, and I thought that he was going to tell us to go away. But, once we have introduced ourselves, he let us sit down, and I started teaching him about the Restoration. This young man's name was Kelvin. He was 19 years old, doing his National Service, and he was married, so that was definitely a surprise. Anyhow, he's a Catholic, but was willing to listen to our message. At the end of it, I set up a return appointment with him, left a pamphlet with him and was about to leave when he asked me if I had anything else that he could read, so I pulled out a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and explained that. He then went on to ask if I had anything else for him. So, I ran over to Elder Palfreyman and got a copy of The Book of Mormon for him to read. We haven't been able to meet with him since, so we'll be continuing to pray for that!

Had a great first Sunday in the new ward I'm serving in. When I introduced myself and told them that I was from Singapore, they didn't believe me! It didn't help that the Assistants convinced the members that I was from the States, and Micronesia. Anyhow, we did have a wonderful appointment last night with a member's sister. We were really able to make progress, because we both realized that we could speak Mandarin. She';s from Myanmar, but learned Mandarin in school. I was able to bear my testimony, and teach in Mandarin. Normally, I'm horrible at it. But, as I bore my testimony of the truths of the gospel, and of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the words flowed from my mouth. It was a wonderful experience.

Lastly, Elder Palfreyman and I had been having a conversation about The Book of Mormon. Before my mission, I had read from parts of it, but generally found it pretty boring. But, as I have really read and pondered on its words, I have found the beauty of its language, and I have learned much from it. Most of all, I have gained a firm and solid testimony that it truly is the word of the Lord, that it testifies of Jesus Christ just as much as the Bible does, and that it is revealed scripture for us in these last days. It's words have inspired me, and one from my favorite scriptures come from Alma 29:1-3, where the prophet Alma talks about his angelic zeal for missionary work, the zeal that I hope to have.

"O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth. But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me."

Here's a photo of Elder Palfreyman and me in front of our chapel. Have a wonderful week, love you all!