Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"For Such A Time As This"

We received some hate mail yesterday. We’re popular.

So I was going through the mail that had come for the day, and saw a letter addressed to the Church. I opened in, and was rather appalled by what I read. Apparently, we are “devils in disguise”, that we are allowed in Singapore because the government here are “lackeys” to western countries, and to the Babylon of the world, America. Also, worship a false Jesus Christ.

To be honest, I was rather upset about it, but as we walked back from buying lunch, Elder Austin and I just talked about how we just can’t let it get to us. The thing is, we know that we’re right (please forgive what might seem to be pride or arrogance), but everyone else thinks they’re right, and we’re dead WRONG. So, how is it that all of us “know” that what we believe is true?

Later on in the evening, we were teaching one of my high school acquaintances. She asked how we could know that it was true just by praying, since everyone prayed too. We explained to her that our claim really is unique, that we believe in the Restoration of the gospel, and really explained that concept of priesthood authority. She accepted the answer, and pondered on it a bit. I went on to say to her” What we’re sharing is either a 100% true or a 100% false. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. If it is, Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God called to restore Jesus Christ’s Church on this Earth today. If it is false, then me, and Elder Austin, and a lot more people are really being mislead. But, if it is true, then the message we are sharing tonight is the greatest message that all should hear.”

As I said those words to her, I felt a calm feeling come over me. It wasn’t anything overwhelming, but rather a sense of peace of knowing that what I was doing and saying was alright. It was a very light but solid assurance from a loving Heavenly Father.

Life goes on.

We had a few surprises this past week. For one thing, L.G. , our wonderful investigator who we set a baptism date with, didn’t come to Church! When we called him, he didn’t sound too penitent about it either. On another note, we found out that Steven, our other investigator on baptism date, is being held in remand by the police for fighting. The thing is, he’s got to be in his 60s. What a world. We love him still, and we’re trying to figure out how we can just say hello to him. The others, as I mentioned last week, continue to take those little steps of progression or regression, depending on their level of interest and love for the gospel.

Raja! Remember him? He was an investigator Elder Palfreyman and I had about six months ago who seemed to be right on track for baptism, but who then disappeared off the face of the… Clementi area. We got a hold of him and had the opportunity to meet him again. He seemed genuinely happy to see us. He asked us about reconciling his long-held belief in the Catholic Church with what we’re teaching him now. We explained that what we were doing was to add on to the good that he already had, not to take away from it at all.

Elder Neil went home this week. Boy, I am getting older in the mission! All these missionaries whom I know really well are heading home!

I’ll be returning to BYU Summer 2010! Go Cougars!

So, big news! I’m being transferred! Well, Elder Austin and I are being transferred to cover Ang Mo Kio and Bedok Ward, while still staying in the office. We’ll be moving houses, to an apartment much closer to the office, so that’ll be good. The sisters are being moved out to East Malaysia, along with a couple other transfers. Just not enough missionaries right now. Just waiting for the eighteen missionaries coming in August! Seven months in the ward! I sure will miss it. Six months and twenty-eight days in my first area. Yet another adventure!

District Training went well. My lesson was based on Esther 4:11-14, and entitled, "For Such A Time As This." Essentially, I talked about how we had been prepared for so long, and how we needed to fulfill our destiny. If you ever want to look at any of the trainings, let me know. He's a part of a talk that I used by President Benson, titled "In His Steps."

For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not. True, there will be some individuals who will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head--even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God.

Have a wonderful week!

-Elder Chua

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Imagine What God Can Do With You"

We had Zone Conference this past week, so that is always good! President Clark gave a wonderful training. He talked about the understanding we need to have that God has a purpose for each of us. The slides that he showed us had single sheets of paper used to create marvelous things. It was really interesting and inspiring. He talked about the simple things that we see in life, of what humans can do, and then posed the question, "Can you imagine what God can do with you?" He read John 6:9-13 where the Savior turned five loaves of bread and two small fishes into food that fed five thousand, and again asked, "Imagine what God can do with you?" All things are possible with God, he expounded, talking about how we are here to change lives one at a time, to really see them as people, and not as numbers. It is true that sometimes we are too focused on numbers, and I try each day to really focus more on the people themselves. Along with that, he spoke of the trials that we will face, but, if we endure, we will be able to be the best we can be. As he quoted the maxim, "The roughest seas make the greatest captains."

Our investigators continue to progress in their own ways and in their own realms. They have their setbacks, but so do we. In the end, all we're doing is trying our best, isn't it? We try our best to work past our imperfections, refining ourselves through our trials and shortcomings. I suppose that when it all boils down to a truth, we are who we make ourselves to be, our attitudes, our thoughts, our actions.

We had a good weekly planning session on Saturday. We needed it. Life really doesn't go without a good plan on the outset. I've learned that well.

To be honest, it's been a hard couple of weeks. Not so much that the week has been hard, but rather, I've just been physically exhausted. I just have to take it a little slower and relax just a bit more, I suppose. My district's been commenting about how tense I am. Ah, it'll work out. Just need to take a breather, I suppose.

We did meet up with a really great university student named L.G. He's studying life sciences at NUS, and he really listened to the message of the Restoration. It's a joy when you find those people who want to listen. No matter how hard it is, each ounce of effort that I pit in, I know, is an investment in the true joy of life, even Jesus Christ.

-Elder Chua

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Well, I have a new companion, Elder Austin from all over Utah County, Utah. He's a way cool guy, and has alredy graduated from college witrh a degree in history. Here's the kicker, he's only 20.

It's been pretty noisy in the office this week, what with five Elders going home, including Elder Palfreyman, my former companion. When we first became companions, he still had more than six months, which seemed like a forever away. But, he's home now! Last week was pretty quiet, because the Clark's and the Assistants were away, so we got quite a lot of work done. These past few days really have been rather hectic, so our areas going crazy too. It's all day preparation day today, since we have Zone Conference tomorrow.

They re-districtized the Zone, so now I have the Bedok Ward Sisters in my district. It's funny reporting with them.

President Clark is really great. He's a nice man, and he'll continue doing a great job, I'm sure of it. These past few weeks have really just gone by in a flash. I don't really know where it has gone. We're teaching a couple of good investigators, but we really have to work on rebuilding our teaching pool again.

We've been teaching Maria, an Indonesian lady whom Elder Wheelwright contacted on his first day here. She's absolutely amazing. She really loves the gospel. She's been Roman Catholic and Anglican before, and she really liked them, but she says that what we have been teaching really conforms with the Bible, and she really loves the doctrines which we teach, because they make so much sense. Talk about someone who has been absolutely prepared for the gospel She even came out with us on Sunday to do some finding! The only problem she has is that she thinks her boss will fire her if she goes to our Church because he is from another denomination and wouldn't approve. It is so sad that people can be controlled like that in today's world. Wealth disparity does not equate to virtual slavery.

We met up with Theodore, working with him, helping him to understand the pre-Earth life.

Met a few other people.

My studies have been going downhill because we have had so much to do, and it is rather frustrating, so we're really going to have to plan better. I have really come to understand how essential planning is to all that we do, both in missionary work, and in life itself.

-Elder Chua

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In The Wink of an Eye

So we had yet another good week. But it having been my 21st birthday this week, I figured that I would do one of those reflection birthday emails for those milestones in my life, like I’ve done on a couple of other occasions.

Twenty-one years sure goes by fast. Time tends to speed up as life goes on, doesn’t it? Elder Wheelwright and I were walking down a street last night, and I mentioned to him that I would never have thought a year ago that I would be where I was right then. It was especially true for him, he hadn’t even received his mission call yet! A year ago, I was green in the mission field, still learning the ropes. Now, I’m leading, but still learning as I lead. A year ago, President Skelton’s release was far in the horizon. Now, he’s home, and we have a new mission president. A year ago, I had 22 months left on my mission. Now I only have 10 months left, and I treasure each moment more and more, because it will be gone, all too soon, and I’ll be in the next phase of my life.

A mission teaches you many things, lessons learned and experiences gained. It’s been the best and worst time of my life. There are days that I feel just euphoric, then there are days when I wonder why I’m here, when I doubt. But, what I have to learn is that I have a loving Father in Heaven who has a plan for me, and He really does want me to be happy. There is so much that I have to deal with in my life, but that’s the thing. Heavenly Father teaches us through experiences that will strengthen us. There is a quote that I absolutely love, it reads:

“Missionaries may not wake up each morning bursting with joy, but they are out the door on time anyway. “Hard” isn’t negative when you are a missionary. Why? Because when your feet hurt and you’re really hungry and the dogs are especially vicious and you are surprised to discover that you are happy anyway, you accept that gift of joy as a blessing from your Heavenly Father, thanking you for doing His work” (Barbara Workman, “The Quest for Joy,” Ensign, Jul 2005, 50–54).

Life has its twists and turns, but we can always be secure and confident in the fact that Heavenly Father has a hand in our lives, and He is there, ready to lead and guide us if we will but obey His commandments. It is sad to see a person blame God for everything that goes wrong. What they don’t realize is that there is a purpose for all things. Faith and hope are inextricable tied in with the level of happiness in our lives, the faith that the things I believe in and the values I hold fast to are true, and the hope that I have a loving Heavenly Father who knows me, and has a way prepared for me, His son.

It says in Preach My Gospel, the Church’s Missionary guide, that "God's whole purpose – His work and His glory – is to enable each of us to enjoy all His blessings. He has provided a perfect plan to accomplish His purpose. We understood and accepted this plan before we came to earth. In the scriptures God's plan is called a merciful plan, the plan of happiness, the plan of redemption, and the plan of salvation. Jesus Christ is central to God's plan. Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ fulfilled His Father's purpose and made it possible for each of us to enjoy immortality and eternal life."

I’ve just been listening to a recording of a choral piece that I did in high school. The thing is, memories from years past just seem like they happened a few days, or weeks, or months ago. I am so grateful for the time that I have had on this Earth thus far. When I was born, there was a high chance that I wouldn’t live, but through miracles, I have been blessed to be able to live a relatively uncomplicated life. Through the years, there have been so many wonderful blessings that I have had. I have two parents who love me, who care for me, and just want the best for my life. What more could I ask for? I have Aunts and Uncles and friends who watch out for me. Friends, teachers, Church leaders have helped me along, provided the laughter and fun, the diversity that makes life the fun that it is.

So, what do I have to look forward to? I have these next few months of my mission to find the people who Heavenly Father wants me to find. I have to stay obedient and faithful, so that the Lord can place His prepared children in the path of a prepared servant, and experience the happiness as I see people change for the better, for eternal happiness. Then, I move back to college, to look up acquaintances a and friends again, to study and improve myself, to graduate and find a job, and somewhere in that time frame, to find a lovely woman who would have me as a spouse (don’t worry Mom and Dad, all in due time). It’s exciting to think about all life has to offer, and it’ll come along as I tread along that path called life!

I thought it appropriate to attach my 18th birthday email, because it really continues to reflect my feelings of times gone by, and it is still very much applicable. Of course, you also get to see the changes in time! I wrote this in Buffalo, New York. Life is funny huh?

So. It's been 18 years. It is such a thrilling thought that I'm now a legal adult. But, it's scary too. Where did those 18 years go? It seems like I was in 1st grade just yesterday. I can remember my teachers... my friends, all now from a distant past. As I reflect on the years gone by, all the things I have done, it's a wonder, the number people I have met, the lives that have passed mine, whether intimately, or just a breath of the wind. 18 years ago, I almost died. I'm grateful that my heart problem was corrected, and that I am alive today. Each day is a gift.

I miss the youth that I once had. Sure, most people would consider me young, with years ahead to conquer. But, through my eyes, I see the young me, the innocence that radiated from my eyes, a young little one, free from the cares and troubles of the world, and just living each day with the knowledge that I would be protected by my parents, never having to worry about the horrors of the world, just playing comfortably in my ow
n little bubble.

Now though, I'm 18, ready to finish up my last year of high school, then throwing myself into the depths of the unknown. I can only hope and pray that I will always have God to lead and guide me, with his infinite knowledge and wisdom, along with my family and friends, who I have always been able to trust and rely on.

Friends. Wow, I have always been blessed with many people in my life, but I would have to say that a large number would be considere
d my acquaintances. Just this year, a wise teacher of mine said that if a person can have but one friend, then he or she is truly blessed. I have been abundantly blessed, because I can confidently say that I have a few friends. To my beloved friends: I have no need to name you, because you know who you are. You are the ones who have helped me through the years. With your constant support and encouragement, I have become more than I could ever be, you have provided me with a shoulder when I needed one to cry on, you have heard my raves and rants, just listening. Some of you have taught me by example, never needing to tell me what to do, but rather, just showing me the way, guiding me with your actions. You are the ones who have been honest with me, not trying to please me with some compliment that isn't true, but rather, telling me the truth and holding on to me in the times that I have needed the support. You are the ones who believe in me, trust me, and are always willing to forgive. You, as my friends, are also my heroes and for that, I thank you.

Another set of people that have taught me though the years are of course, my teachers. I am thankful that I have had teachers in my life who have influenced me to study hard, to advance academically. They have provided me with inspiration to work hard and excel at what I do. Their examples have been my guiding light. My seminary teachers have given me the spiritual guidance and helped me to stay on the straight and narrow path, gently placing my hand on the iron rod. Without seminary , I doubt that I would h
ave as strong a testimony in the Church than I do today. Thank you cannot express how grateful I am to the both of you.

It has been said that if you can't stand for something, then you'll fall for everything. The one thing that I have always tried to stand for is my religion. You all know I'm LDS, otherwise known as a Mormon, and it has played a significant part in my life. I have followed it as much as I have been able to. There are times where I have fallen away, but thankfully, I have been able to pull myself back in. Over the years, I have gotten many questions and criticisms because I am Mormon. Many people tell me that it's baloney, and that I shouldn't conform to something that restricts me from so much. That has always got me thinking. But, I have always reminded myself that even if it isn't true, the Church teaches me to be a good person, obedient to the laws of society. The Church has taught me to love my family, and to follow a certain set of standards that have helped me to be a better person. In the news, I read, I watch about the sufferings that are going around us in the world. So many people are still the victims of war and famine, young children are killed without reason. Divorces are common and our society seems to be lowering its moral standards each day. That is why I am thankful that I have the Church to guide and give me strength, allowing me to keep standards that I have been taught and which I hold dear to me.

Lastly, to the two people who I love the most, my parents. I love them both so much because they have been my guides throughout the years. They have lead my each step of the way, holding on to me firmly, and always picking me up whenever I have fallen. I get into arguments with them constantly, and there are times where I think I hate them, but then I realize that they are only doing it for my own good, and are looking out for me. I can never thank them enough for the sacrifices that they have made for me. Thanks Mom and Dad.

I have no idea what lies ahead for me, but I hope that I will be able to chase my dreams, and as the years go on, have a family that I can love and cherish. It is "with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self" that I will take my next step into the world. I pray that I will always have faith in myself, because that's what counts. I have learnt that there are only two things in life that really matters, family and friends. I hope that I will never be too busy to smell each rose that passes. To all of you, thank you for being a part of my life, each of you, one way or another, have helped mold me into who I am today. In Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken, the last stanza says...

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I can only hope that I will take the road that makes the right difference, and that I will have all of you with me on my journey.

Elder Ee Chien Chua

"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend."

- Albert Camus

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Skeltons

This week has been good. I went on exchanges with the Toa Payoh Elders, introduced them to a couple of former investigators, and a new investigator, so that was good. Unfortunately, the new investigator was anti-ed by her cell group leader. Thomas Kwok, a missionary’s brother, has been helping us, since he’s here for an internship. Had our Stake Talent Night on Saturday. That was fun to watch. We ended up having six investigators at Church, which was absolutely amazing! It’s definitely a record set personally in Clementi Ward! We had another good week, continuing on with finding new investigators and meeting some good people. These past two days have been hectic, we have not been able to go out at all, because we have been spending our days at the office, rushing to get everything ready for the new mission president to come. He’s already here actually. In Singapore anyway. He’ll be in the office in about an hour, so we’re waiting for him. It’s been busy! We met up with my parents Tuesday night for dinner, a request from my Dad, which was granted. T’was nice. Besides that, this week has been great, but today, I would like to pay tribute to President and Sister Skelton.

When I got off my mission the first time, President Sklelpromised me that there would be a time that my Dad would change his mind, and that I would be allowed back on my mission again. I went off to BYU, fully expected to have to wait a couple of years. But, as I prayed, my Dad’s heart was softened, and I got to go back out again in under a year. But, in order for that to happen, my Dad has some conditions set. President Skelton did all he could to accede to those requests, talking with the brethren and making all the necessary adjustments, which worked out, and got me back in the field. It was marvelous of him to work so hard to get that to happen.

As I started on my mission the second time round, I was rather apprehensive. I was very excited, but wasn’t sure what to expect. President Skelton was very encouraging, and every time I saw him, he was always ready to greet me with a handshake, and a comment that would always get me laughing. Whenever I had problems or concerns, or just needed someone to talk to, he was always there, ready to listen, and then deliver some sagely wisdom that would always comfort me and help me to understand how the things of life work.

These past six months in the office have been amazing. The lessons learned and experience gained has definitely stretched my limits, and has helped me to grow and be a better person. President’s humor has been great, and his love for Sister Skelton has been evident. The relationship between them is one that I want to have with my wife one day. It is amazing to see the candor in their relationship. I hope that I have the opportunity to meet with them and learn at their feet once again. Words really can’t express the love and respect that I have for them, as with the love and respect that they have shown to me this past year.

Life’s lessons truly are learned through experience, and this has been an amazing journey.

Thank you, President and Sister Skelton.

-Elder Chua