Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Love Is The Motive"

A summary of the week:

We've had a few wonderful appointments this week! We met a few new investigators, both formers and people who we had contacted previously. Luis, one of Elder Longmore's former investigators, met up to have a lesson, but also to show us a bunch of certificates he had won as a hotel doorman. He's a really nice man, and we enjoyed talking to him. Hopefully it moves on to spiritual awards. Brother Ng, who helped us with the lesson, was really good in motivating Luis to come to Church. Unfortunately, Luis wasn't well on Sunday. There's always next week.

Met with a Myanmar investigator who was more interested in comparing religions. Fortunately, his wife was very friendly and had an interest in the Plan of Salvation. She is expecting, and the message about eternal families definitely held her interest.

Two new Mandarin Elders came in this past week, Elder Ngo and Elder Nightingale. They seem to be great Elders, and really excited for the work. I was able to go with Elder Ngo for a day. Smart kid! He went to Harvard for a year. Had fun teaching him to contact, and a good dinner appointment.

Joanne is an investigator who has been learning for a long time, but has not been able to get baptized because her parents want her to wait till she's 21. Unfortunately, she hasn't come to Church for a long time or met with the missionaries, but we were finally able to last week. We had a wonderful lesson with her as we read the story of Esther, and helped her to understand her position and destiny as a daughter of God. It was a beautiful lesson, whereby the Spirit taught, and we were instruments in the Lord's hands. We're working on getting her back! She knows it's true, and it really is promising.

Brother Jay, a member in Bedok, has been doing a great job talking to his friends about the Church, one of whom was willing to meet with us. We had a great discussion with him. He really was willing to listen. What this friend, Ganesh, said was that he really admired and respected Brother Jay for the values that he lived. It was a good example of how our examples are teachers of the gospel, in and of themselves. More often that we realize, people are looking to us to be a beacon in a sea of shifting values. I hope to follow that example.

Shu Ching is a former who is still not willing to commit. Bah.

Leah is doing good. Still coming to Church and excited. Working on keeping Alvin active. Good guy.

Met up with an inactive and his wife. Talked to them about families and actually set up a return appointment to have family home evening with them! It was great because the member didn't really want the appointment, but the non-member wife set it up. Talk about a change of heart.

Cisca has really been thinking about what we've taught her. She's praying and progressing.

Yuni, one of our investigators on baptism date, is progressing really well and excited with all that we are teaching her. Heavenly Father has really blessed us with one of his prepared children, which really is a blessing . We were able to set another baptism date with Andrew, a referral from a member in the Philippines. He really wants to find the truth, and already has a budding testimony, because he has a desire to learn, that is growing fast into a mighty faith.

Gave an area book training to the Stake Presidency and Bishoprics, because we're implementing a new program where the missionaries will work a lot more closely with the ward to endure that no one is left behind.

Good week! Still really tired though.

Well, gave this week's training on how love is our motive for doing the work. As I taught the training, I realized how true it was, especially after I met a Baptist on the train later on in the afternoon who already "knew" all about the Mormons. As we come to really love, then we will become true disciples of Christ.

In closing, I can testify along with Sister Marilyn Bateman that "Love is itself a gift. It is difficult for us to love others if we are not loved. Sometimes we don't feel loved or at all lovable. At these times it may be difficult for us to feel motivated to exercise faith or to show love. But God loves us. He loves us more than we can comprehend at this time. We need to come to understand how great His love is: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Many converts to the Church report the overwhelming joy they feel in being converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They feel God's love for them, and it is this love that entices them to be baptized and follow Him. John reminded us, "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). I, too, have felt this love, a burning love that encompasses my whole soul. When it is in you, it lights you, all of you, and transforms you. Our obedience takes on new meaning as we cross over from keeping the letter of the law and begin to keep the spirit of the law. Obedience, faith, and love are not easily separated out from each other. The source of our faith comes from understanding the nature of God--that He is a good and loving God who has the power to save us. The source of our obedience rests in a love for God and in the faith that by keeping the commandments we will partake more fully of God's love."

-Elder Chua

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Flooding the Church

Elder Pulver and I have had many adventures since the start of our companionship, and it continues on!

We've been teaching Cisca, and she's making good progress. The only concern we're trying to resolve is to help her understand the concept, or the reality of one true Church on this Earth today. Other than that, everything is going well with her. We have a bit of a language barrier, since I don't speak Malay. Elder Pulver is doing well with that, though the dictionary is needed sometime.

Yuni is another member's helper whom we've started teaching. She's been coming to Church for the past six months to help take care of their kids in primary, but only recently have they asked her if she wanted to learn. She told us that she had just been waiting for them to ask! Our first lesson with her was amazing. Elder Pulver was teaching in Malay again, and I picked up some snippets. She's really excited about all of this and accepted a date for baptism in early October!

Church was good. We had five investigators there. We had a couple last minute surprises, where some who we expected to turn up didn't, and those whom we weren't expecting came! We have had a good week with finding new investigators, so that has been wonderful.

Samantha, a less-active who we've been working with, is progressing so well! She came to Church last Sunday, and has been reading from The Book of Mormon. It's often easy to forget our duty, understanding that bringing back lost sheep to the fold includes inactive members, not just non-members.

We contacted a referral from a mission in Chile. When we got to the house, only the Mom of the referral was there, but she was really excited to see us, so we hope to work with those two new referrals!

On the way home on Saturday, we met two Nigerians who are studying here. They didn't make it to Church, but we met with one of them, Frank, yesterday. He was really friendly and had questions about baptism by immersion, and said that he'd read. Hopefully it all works out.
Two new Mandarin missionaries came in yesterday. They know Elder Nef, one of my good friends! It was a hectic day.

Had District Training on Faith, taught them about the power that we can receive from active faith, and it was good to see them a little more lively than normal.

We had Leah's baptism, but not before the adventure of the week… took place. We had switched on the tap for the font and had our appointment with Frank. When we got back up, we found the corridor flooded with water. We unlocked the door to the font, only to find a cascading waterfall down the stairs. What a mess! We spent the next half an hour trying to push the water towards the bathroom. It was carpet by the way, and the water had soaked it. The Bishop came and cracked a few jokes about Noah and the flood and whatnot. Unfortunately, the service center manger, who I don't think likes me very much, happened to come for a meeing and saw the mess. He definitely was not a happy camper. "Hello... Norman!"We had the baptism (a little late, Leah got lost), then had the facilities manager come. We spent the rest of the evening trying to get water out from the carpet. Tiring!

Good week though! It's going to get better! We're going to flood the Earth (and the Church) with the gospel!

-Elder Chua

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Faith and Funnies

We've had a lot of crazy things happen to us this week, so I'll just go through the highlights.

Zone Conference was great as usual. President gave a wonderful training on revelation, about the ways that we can receive it, and how we can distinguish revelation from God. He emphasized the fact that we would not receive revelation on who we are going to marry on our missions. It was good to help us understand also how we are to receive revelation for our investigators, and what we can do to be more receptive to those spiritual prompts, that, can only make us stronger anyway.

The Assistants taught about the journey of conversion, how to teach and commit more effectively. Most trainings on this particular topic could very much end up long and boring, but the Assistants did a great job. A key point of their training was the need for the Spirit in all our lessons. It is up to the Spirit to convert, and so, we need to learn how to always have it with us, in our lessons. They talked to us about teaching for understanding, committing investigators to Church ALWAYS, because an investigators attendance at Church is a key indicator of their level of conversion. They talked about asking proper and direct questions that would prompt an investigator's sincere study of the gospel, of knowing that miracles occur as we plan well, teach well, and thereby have those miracles come to pass as part of that process.

We met with a member referral, who thought very deeply as we taught her about the Plan of Salvation. It was very invigorating. Everyone has those questions come to mind at some point in their lives.

Saturday started off normal, but then everything went crazy! We went over to the office to get some baptism clothing for a child of record baptism, and found out that we didn't have a suit! As we were in the car park figuring out whether or not we had to go by some white clothes, the catering van took out a chunk of the ceiling. The member whose son was being baptized didn't have a memory card in her camera, and the TV that we were pushing on a trolley across the compound had its wheels caught in the drain grill and flew off. We caught it in the nick of time. The DVD player dropped off, then flew off again when the wheels of the trolley hit one of the pieces of the ceiling on the ground. Daniel, the kid, ended up being baptized in an adult's suit that was way too big on him, and had its sleeves and pant legs rolled up. Hilarious.

Leah's baptism was next, but she had not arrived at the stated time, so we were rather worried. We had to call Julian because we were working on her baptism program, and we didn't know who was doing what. When we asked him if he knew her full name, his reply was "Shouldn't you already know that?" Good point. We realized that the font had probably been emptied, only to have our fears confirmed. I had left my keys at the office, so I had to hoist Elder Pulver over the glass pane and into the font to unlock the door. We didn't have Leah's full name, so we couldn't finish the program sheet. She finally arrived, got her name, and finished the program. When we got back over, they told us that the dress we had given her was "inconvenient," a.ka. see through, so we had to run back and get the suit that we were going to use for Alvin. Thankfully the rest of the baptism went off without a hitch. Well, I left my pants at the office so Elder Pulver had to run over and grab it right after Leah was baptized.

Alvin's baptism was good. No glitches.

Sunday morning, Leah was confirmed, except it was different from the name that I had said when I baptized her. We found out that she hadn't given her full name. So, we're back to square one. She was going to be re-baptized yesterday, but her monthly cycle is in effect, so we'll wait for a week.

We had Alvin's name right.

We went on splits in the afternoon, because the Tay's helper, Cisca, is from Indonesia, and Elder Pulver and Elder Tuckfield could do a much better job with the language. Elder Gulbrandsen and I had the opportunity to teach Gospel Principles in Ang Mo Kio because the Ward Mission Leader was sick. We went for an Expat dinner after that. I finally got to meet my BYU professor's sister in-law, whose family is living here. The food was great and the conversation was fun. Burritos!

After an appointment last night, we went back to the Church to grab some stuff, and ended up being locked in behind the big gate. We didn't have a key, so I tried to climb over first and got caught on the spokes, which hurt pretty bad. With that plan aborted, we went around and eventually found a ladder, put it against the fence, and jumped down. Miraculously, I rolled and didn't sprain or break anything!

Well, that sums up this week!

Read/listened to Elder Holland's address to BYU students entitled "Remember Lot's Wife", which is absolutely amazing. One part that stuck out to me was when he said, "I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives."

We must always be looking forward in faith. Then only will we be able to conquer all that life throws at us. It is a journey to believe in.

-Elder Chua

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This week has been rather crazy. But, it has been a bundle of fun. We had sixteen missionaries come in this past week. We had a really fun time with that. I gave the training on Singapore, then also gave them a workshop on time management and organizational skills (not that I'm particularly good at that). It was really fun though. We had a great time getting to know them, and taking them to eat some Indian food for their first meal here.

We just had our email time restricted to one hour so I'm trying to type this as fast as possible. Anyhow, Elder Pulver has been great. He's really excited about the work, and so we've been playing off one another. Also, we have been doing well in the office. Having new policies and whatnot implemented, along with new forms.

Some of our appointments were good, and one in particular left a rather bad taste in our mouth. We met with a former investigator named John, who we met at a hawker center while he was drinking his beer. It started off well enough, but what ended up happening was him telling us how smart he was for reading the Koran, and Buddha's teachings, the Bible and other writings. It didn't seem to do much good though, he still had an apathetic view towards religion. He ended up telling us that we were close minded and rather arrogant, so we decided to bear our testimonies, but he started swearing at us, so we ditched the appointment. Sometimes that's just how it goes.

We had a setback with Alvin. He didn't come to Church, and had texted a member saying he had doubts, and wasn't sure if he could obey all the commandments. But then, he suddenly appeared at the end of the three hours and said he was good. Unfortunately, that obviously wasn't something that could happen. We sat down with him on Tuesday, his actual baptism date, and also was interviewed by President Clark because a member who knew him felt that he ought too. He got the all clear, so we're back on track!

Leah is doing amazing. She'll be baptized this Saturday! We had five investigators and Church, and we have investigators that are really starting to get excited and progress. Also, we have had a great few days contacting, finding some really wonderful people who are willing to learn about the gospel. Our appointments have been good and the members are helping us! It truly has been a joyous week. I am happy! :)

-Elder Chua

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Who I Am"

It has been an interesting few days, just taking some time to think and reflect. These past few days have been rather hectic, to say the least. Being a missionary truly has been the best of times and the hardest of times.

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, we have attended the wakes of a few of our members' parents, and recently, just heard of yet another one. A day ago, I received news of a family friend also passing through the veil. Death is a very interesting concept. We are very much subject to it, in every possible way, and, to be honest, it has always frightened me. There is something about seeing a lifeless body that strikes at the heart of someone who wants to live, to see that there is nothing there. The person's spirit is gone. I suppose that I am afraid because I don't want it to happen to me, or to anyone I love anytime soon.

But, it is the message and knowledge of the gospel that brings peace to my heart, though that fear still lingers from time to time. Knowing that this life isn't all there is, is comforting in itself. To know that a loving Heavenly Father has a plan whereby families can be together forever is especially wonderful. I know that families can be together forever.

We've had a pretty decent week actually. Alvin passed his baptismal interview, so he'll be baptized next week! We're excited about that! We're still working on Leah. Unfortunately, she is having some employment issues, so we're working it out with the Bishop. She's supposed to be baptized next week, so we really hope that it works out.

Right, another bit of news. Elder Austin is being transferred to serve in Kota Kinabalu. My new companion, Elder Pulver, from Taylorsville, UT, will come in today.

Elder Austin and I gave talks in both of our wards last Sunday. I've been happy that my speech skills are getting better! Don't need to read from a paper, and no more shaking! I talked about the destiny of each of Heavenly Father's children, and likened it to each of the members, how they have to choose whether or not they want to fulfill their own destiny, since they have already chosen to come down to this Earth, and then to be members of the Church. As I was writing my talk, it really dawned on me that there is no middle ground, no "grey area", no "Sunday Christians." We have to do our best to be as the Savior each and every day of the week, to emulate His example. We also conducted a missionary workshop in Bedok Ward, showing them materials that they could use, showed them a video and a role play, which was really fun, and which I believe they very much enjoyed (judging from their laughs). It was fun.

We were watching a DVD this morning, which is put out by the Church. It helps missionaries to understand Preach My Gospel better and has good examples. What it is about are missionaries who were followed around as they did their work, and who exemplified Preach My Gospel missionaries. They were teaching a lady who was having doubts and who wasn't comfortable with being baptized just then, but as they worked together, she really has a mighty change of heart. It made me want so much to be a better missionary, to really be focusing always on teaching to help Heavenly Father's children return to him. As they proceeded on with her baptismal service, and the baptismal prayer was uttered, the words "commissioned of Jesus Christ" really stuck out in my mind. I thought deeply about that. I am "commissioned of Jesus Christ." It was a feeling that I really can't put down in words, but it made me want to be better, to be the best I can be.

Studying Preach My Gospel has been wonderful. I read and working on Chapter 8 today, "Using Time Wisely." It talked about planning well, being accountable to the Lord.

It went on to talk about really understanding our purpose as missionaries, only then will be have the desire and Spirit to know how to make effective use of our time to fulfill that purpose. It truly is measured, as is said, by an investigator's growing faith in the Savior, repenting, and "earnestly preparing' for baptism and confirmation." There is so much to learn, and as I grow in faith and testimony, I know that I will be able to feel of my Heavenly Father's love more and more.

Elder Tuckfield and I were talking about whether or not whether we should let what people think of us (as individuals) affect our emotions. I think I'm a little more sensitive, so, we talked about learning to be really emotionally independent. He too talked about his shortcomings in relation to that. Our conclusion was that we should really list down and come to know our strengths and weaknesses, know who we are, then just build from there. As such, I'm working on knowing that I truly am a I am a Son of God, and each day, I'm learning more and more about who I am.

-Elder Chua