Brother Chan (the best brother Chan out of all the other million or so other Mr. Chans)...week 49

Monday, July 25, 2016

I would like to share a story about Brother Chan. I met him once before I came to this area and before he was baptized. I was actually the one who gave him his baptismal date. He's 76 years old, enjoys biking with his two grandsons and studied manufacturing at Hong Kong Polytechnic university. He's also one of the embodiments in my life of Power in the Priesthood.

We meet with him once a week to check on his health as well as read scriptures and preach my Gospel with him. Reading used to be extremely difficult at times because of his lung cancer, but he has told us that even his doctors have been surprised by the improvement of his condition after his baptism and confirmation. He was even physically able to bless the sacrament last week. He told us that "when I knelt down to bless the bread, there was no pain. Going down is never the hard part though is it. I remember being afraid that morning because I wouldn't be able to get up and continue the ordinance. I prayed for the strength of the priesthood though, and after I said the sacrament prayer, I stood up. I felt stronger and more confident that I have felt in the twenty years since I had been diagnosed with cancer. I love my Father in Heaven." That's about the most direct translation I can give. The same priesthood that a 16-18 year old adolescent holds was enough to strengthen a man, even if just momentarily, to over come years of cancerous battles and damage done to his body. I remember watching him stand. He almost jumped, which only confused and surprised the priests standing next to him. The power in that sacrament meeting was tangible and wonderful.

Brother Chan used to be a member of the Catholic church, and when I first met him I was desirous to see what his reaction to a baptismal invitation would be considering that he had clearly communicated to the missionaries prior his conflict with the authority of the church.
When I said the words of the invitation though, he just stared at his Book of Mormon for a moment. His eyes weren't looking up, but his heart was heavenward, and God answered his earnest prayer of asking "what would you have me do?" He said yes. The spirit again was very strong with this man. 

His home is sacred to me, and his words are filled with power and kindness as he bears his converted testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He is now yet another strong source for my own testimony and faith to draw from. The man who walked in torrential rain for two hours to get to a three hour church meeting and who rides his bike every sunday morning to get to the Church even before the missionaries do is one of my heroes. A man of God whom I dearly love. I hope that I can be as humble as this dear friend and teacher of mine, Chan Kin Yip. I'll get a picture on Wednesday because that day will be temple day and we are given time that day to do our weekly shopping and P-day activities. Have a good week y'all!戴長老

Notes from Mom:  I thought Ian would send pictures this week, but he didn't have his adaptor with him.  I asked about his Zone Conference and he said it went well.  "A lot of missionaries were taking pictures (not including me because my camera was dead). Zone Training went well. It's kind of scary that it's only been a couple of weeks and we're already getting ready for the next one. Time is going by too fast. Yoshi just bought a buch of pizza and drinks for all of the misionaries at Zone training. He really has been sticking himself out for all of us. I really appreciated it. He even bought me a little present: some Japanese cooling spray that you use in extremely hot and sweaty weather. It's super nice. I'll see if any other missionaries have pictures."  He has another day this week to write and send pictures since they are going to the temple on Wednesday.  The temple has been closed until recently for maintenance.  Bonus email week!

Here's a picture of brother Chan Kin Yip and Elder Love.

Sheung Shui missionaries crashed into Bishop Choi on his way to the temple!
Ian, Elder Love, Bishop Choi, Sister Hugo, and Sister Kessen. 

Re-baptizing Elders Wilcoxon (next to me) and about to head back home after a faithful two years Elder Chu (being dunked by Elder Love who is on the far right of the picture). 

All of us blindly looking into the distance. It was very bright.

Zara Glasses for Elder Taylor.  

Elders Chen, Love, and Peterson holding mattress pads.

Left to right: Elders Farr, Love, Chen, and Peterson.

"The Sky" by Elder Love using Elder Taylor's camera. 

Brother Wong soon to be activated.

Ancient Village older than America.

This was a picture extravaganza!

Don't even THINK about touching that rock...week 48

Monday, July 18, 2016

Just a couple quick thoughts about a scripture that caught my attention and won't leave me alone. I have been slowly working through the Old testament and just recently read Exodus 20:25. The Altars   we make should not be made of hewn (cut) stone, lest the altar be polluted and the sacrifice meaningless. We don't make altars for blood sacrifices any more, but think about the symbolism there (because that's almost all that the Mosaic Law is good for anyways:)).
When we pray, we obviously are at least offering time to say something to our Father in Heaven. However, do we ever find ourselves cutting the stones in our prayers? Are we just following some sort of "thank you for this day" template in our prayers or are they truly guided by the natural framings given by the spirit? Let the spirit guide your prayers. I would invite all to read the activity about prayer in chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel if they have time to do so. Very insightful and humbling when you see what changes need to occur in your prayers.
2 Nephi 32:9 is almost memorized this week in chinese. one or two more days and it should be down! Keep the faith everybody!

Notes from mom:  I was kind of bugged with this week's letter, especially since this week was a scripture, and I wanted to say, "Uh, Ian, we have those here!"  So I will reference a few of the emails he sent me regarding other things.  I sent Ian a picture of something I received last week.  The principal at Springville High School gave me Ian's engraved Valedictorian picture.  I sent him a photo and here is what he said:  "Scared the poop out of Elder Love. People keep sending us pictures of before our missions and we are both just freaked out of our minds. My head is HUGE! My hair is just terrible. That's how you know that Valedictorian means nothing compared to being an Elder for the Church of Jesus Christ. The Gospel changes men who then change the world. It takes the slums out of men, who then take themselves out of the slums. It's a gospel of enabling power and potential for change."  High school is a world away from where Ian is now.  We are glad he is so happy as a missionary and loving Hong Kong.

I was asked to update the ward on Ian's mission.  I asked him what I could convey, maybe his favorite food or things he enjoys.  Here is what I got:  "Favorite food is chicken feet. No contest. There is nothing to compare to dim sum chicken feet. The work to bring back less actives is the biggest miracle in progress right now. It's amazing to watch. Keeping covenants is greater than just making covenants and then leaving. We are not in the business of simply damning their souls because they now know the truth and simply walk away. We are trying to help them change their lives FOR GOOD!"  

Since I don't really know much about dim sum chicken feet, I asked for a clarification:  "The chicken feet and a couple of other food items are in the bamboo baskets. No soup though. The closest thing they have to soup is something called JUK (pronounced "joke"). It's a savory rice pudding pretty much. Super good...but not as good as chicken feet."  Some family friends just moved to Hong Kong.  The ward they attended on Sunday had no children, 5 men, and the rest were Filipino sisters.  It's not their ward they will stay in, but I asked Ian about them:  "There's no men because all the Filipinos here are women who leave their families for as long as 15 years to go and be a maid here in Hong Kong so that they can get their children to a school. They are all pretty inspiring ladies, and all of them are amazing cooks, especially when it comes to...italian food. Random, but I don't care as long as it's delicious."  There are so many wonderful, faithful members of the church in Hong Kong.

Two friends Ian deeply admires had homecomings on Sunday.  He gave me some instructions:  "Tell Elder Johnson and Elder Noll that they are role models to me. The decisions that I saw them make only made me more sure that I needed to follow suit. Their situation may have been a world away, but the message will never change. The missionaries are only going to get more powerful as they build off of the legacy of those who have gone before. Those little changes are the difference that counts. Love it. Love to hear about it. Tell me when you can what it is that they talk about."  Their talks were so eloquent and filled with the spirit of truth.  

Baptisms! week 47

Monday, July 11, 2016

So we had 2 baptisms in the zone this week. One was a 14 year old from Fan Ling named Andy, who is a member referral. The other is a 10 year old son of a less active from Ma On Shan named Gordon. Both of these services were beautiful and spiritual. Both of these young men were simply so prepared. They found their own way, and the missionaries just told them what's what.

My favorite scripture of the week is 2 timothy 1:7. I will be giving a portion of a training this tuesday for zone training, because we need a sound mind in order to serve God with all of our Heart Might Mind and Strength.

Thank you for all the well wishing this week. There's nothing really like a birthday on the mission.
Take care all. Sorry that I don't have more time, but I just have a lot of stuff to fill out and a couple of people to send emails to. Y'all are killing it out there!

Decisions to make and fears faced...week 46

Monday, July 4, 2016

So we are going to be a little bit more intent this transfer on finding people that are TRULY ready for baptism. We felt that one of the weaknesses last transfer was that we were too tolerant of investigators that had almost no interest at all in the gospel and really just like being able to say that they have white friends that speak Cantonese. Of course this will cause numbers to go down, but numbers is simply a means to report and set somewhat tangible goals for this amazing and unmeasurable work. I am also committing from now on that my Area Book will be the most clean, organized, and full Area Book in the world. We are going to completely reorganize and refresh our records. It's hard because at the same time you could be outside finding or in a lesson or visiting a member or doing ANYTHING else that might seem more important in the moment. However, in the long run, and streamlined and organized Area book organizes and streamlines the actual work. I'm probably going to be in this area for a while anyways, so might as well start now.

Sometimes writing in a journal is hard because at night as a zone leader you have missionaries all over the zone that need questions answered and rules clarified, ESPECIALLY on Sunday. I am doing my best with that though, because the records we write personally should always be unto the convincing of mankind that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through his grace and mercy we are saved.

I have been pondering quite a bit lately on the concept of power, and will be giving a training on it this week. the Seven P's of Power: Promptings, Promises, Purpose, Persuasion, Prayer, Priesthood, and Penitence. Realizing the true and authentic power of God only comes through promptings of the spirit, heeded and followed, with our eyes opened toward a Heavenly direction because of a heavenly GOAL! Power is only felt when we seek the Lords hand in our lives and in the lives of those around us. It is only received when worthily and persistently asked for in a humble and submissive manner. The authority of the Priesthood unlocks the door for the blessings of heaven to be given, but there are still requirements to be met to ACCESS THIS AUTHORITY and be prepared for the blessings that have been prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Happiness is given and enhanced by the power of God, and is infinitely exponentialized through Charity, the pure love of Christ.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the well earned and hard fought freedom that is so mercifully given by the Holy Spirit of Promise and Prophecy. I'm proud to be an American. I am also proud to be here in Hong Kong and see that there is more to freedom than a gun in your belt loop and an empty voting slip. Don't take your privilege for granted!

This is Sunny (our 18 year old mission leader who is headed to Canada in September for his mission. The other is our struggling recent convert. We all had lunch together at this place called Tam Jai (the place that has the Dak Laaht soup. The food was delicious and we all had come prepared with our tissues.

These are pictures of our investigator BROTHER LEE! He's getting baptized soon! Just not quite sure if it will be this month or not. 

We also had a water fight/eating food activity with the young men and young women (who segregated faster than any Mormon activity I have ever SEEN! Haha!)

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