Good Morning everyone!
It has been a couple of great days since you last heard from me! The work is really picking up in Shum Shui Po, I don't know if it's just because my Cantonese has been getting better so I feel more comfortable in the ward or for other reasons, but the members are really starting to catch on the missionary fire! This last week our companionship got 8 people referred to us by members, which is a ton! I have never had that many people referred before my whole mission, and it was so wonderful to see the members just inviting their friends and having fun doing the work and not being afraid to share with their friends! Two of the referrals have great potential, and I see them getting baptized within the year!
Our ward had a farewell party this Sunday for our Bishop, Au hd who is going on a mission, Elder George, and the Temple President Wong and his wife. It was a great event and I felt the ward's unity, there are good examples to me in this ward of how to be a good, dedicated member and builder of the kingdom of God. We also got new ward leadership, I am really excited for the new bishop, Bishop Choi. He is a great member with good vision for the ward! There is about to be miracles in Shum Shui Po! The member I was talking about last week, Chen hd also came to the party, it's the first time I've seen him for a month or so, and my heart dropped when I saw him. He has lost tons of weight and hair, the cancer and treatment is really ravaging him. He was wearing a mask and couldn't talk, but I saw all the members just supporting him and his family. When I talked to him and his family, I could see and feel their happiness and faith. I was so touched to see them happily coming to be with their brothers and sisters, and to feel the Spirit of being with one another. I am amazed by their capacity to be joyful and faithful in the face of such affliction. A big part of that is the support from the ward, and the rest of it is their personal faith and conviction in Jesus Christ. It reminds me of something that Elder Wong shared in our mission tour last week, he shared from 1 Nephi 1:1, Nephi says 'having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord.." He asked, how could Nephi say he is so favored of the Lord if he had seen so much affliction, and suffered so much in his life? How can we have an attitude of being grateful and faithful to the Lord, feeling that we are in fact 'favored' of him even when our life is full of trials?
Nephi answers this question in 2 Nephi 2:2 - "Nevertheless..thou knowest the greatness of God, and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain."Heavenly Father can consecrate our afflictions. Just President Nelson says, who I quoted a week or two ago, -
"When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, which President Thomas S. Monson just taught us, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!
That is why our missionaries leave their homes to preach His gospel. Their goal is not to increase the number of Church members. Rather, our missionaries teach and baptize to bring joy to the people of the world!" Just as the Savior offers peace that “passeth all understanding,” He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension. For example, it doesn’t seem possible to feel joy when your child suffers with an incurable illness or when you lose your job or when your spouse betrays you. Yet that is precisely the joy the Savior offers. His joy is constant, assuring us that our “afflictions shall be but a small moment” and be consecrated to our gain.
The Savior is the perfect example of this, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. "(Hebrews 12:2). He endured what he did because of the joy he has in loving and serving everyone of us. He knew that his afflictions would not only be consecrated for His gain, but for the gain of every single person ever to live, and through him ours can be used to help ourselves and others along their paths as well. I know that the Chen family is getting through this trial with an attitude of optimism and joy in the church because they know that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them, and have the infinite Atonement of Christ.The Gospel has suddenly become very real to them in their afflictions, and is one of the only things that they can hold on to, their testimonies of all these things. They are powerful examples to me of true testimony despite their afflictions and oppositions of life. The gospel is true.
I'm excited this week to see how we can keep the work going in Shum Shui Po! Thanks for all your support, I love you all!
|Elders Woolley, Sargent & Sy after the mission tour|
|Elder Sargent and Ryan - first real milk shake since leaving the US|
|Elder Sy and Ryan with their "homie" Bob|
|The extent of Halloween in HK|
|Children from the English class the missionaries teach|
|Elder Sy and Ryan with little Jerry|