After much preparation, the young self-proclaimed Emperor of The Han Dynastory is now serving a full-time mission to the UK with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He will return in 2014.


Welcome to the Han Dynastory!

As I am now serving a full-time mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have left this blog under the stewardship of a family member, who may post updates on how I'm doing as he/she sees fit.

Enjoy your stay!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week 8!!!!!!!!

Hike up Mt. Snowdon
Hello everyone!

I am now in my 8th week as a missionary set apart to serve our Lord and Saviour. I have been out in the mission field for nearly 5 weeks and will be reaching the end of my very first transfer cycle (each transfer cycle lasts 6 weeks). Nobody but the Lord knows at this time which area I will serve in during the next transfer cycle, but I'm sure I'm going to love it no matter where I serve :)

Speaking of transfer cycles, my companion and trainer, Elder Peterson, will be undergoing a very special transfer this week - he is going to be transferred to Highland, Utah. In other words, he's going home!

I think I haven't written much about Elder Peterson so far. He's from Utah and has moved more than 10 times, has three adopted younger siblings, of which one is a little girl from Taiwan. He came here as a Mandarin Chinese-speaking missionary and is able to speak Chinese pretty well. He previously served for quite a while with a missionary from Hong Kong and as a result has developed great Chinese cooking skills and an appetite for spicy food. He has also realised that taking a shower at night is a very Asian thing. He played American Football before his mission and is trying to get back into shape before heading back. He put himself on a diet and insists that I stop cooking such hearty breakfasts for him in the morning. Unfortunately for him, we were treated to a most wonderful Chinese buffet lunch the other day and we decided to go back to the same place for lunch with some other missionaries today. Moreover, an amazing member who helps us immensely in missionary work gave us enchiladas yesterday. Elder Peterson is definitely fighting a losing battle as far as I can see.

This week we missionaries in the England Manchester Mission were treated to a once-in-a-mission experience - we went hiking! President Preston declared the past few weeks as a time to rededicate and recommit ourselves to the service of God. As a result, we were given a trip to the temple at Chorley and were given an opportunity to hike up Mt. Snowdon in Wales!

The hike was amazing. For starters, the climate here is much cooler than in Malaysia, and so it was much more pleasant than climbing any mountain in the heat back home. The trail was also more rocky than muddy, and shorter than the misadventure of our climb up Gunung Nuang back in Malaysia. There were steep points along the trail we took for Mt Snowdon as well, but for the most part I found it to be a relatively gentle climb most of the way.

The best part, however, was the view. Most hikes in Malaysia are done through the endless rainforests, and it is nearly impossible to get a panoramic view of the mountain range. As we climbed Mt. Snowdon, we had a fantastic view of everything around us, including the sheep who were clearly better hikers than we were. (On a side note, the sheep made the hike more exciting - wherever the trail was easier we'd find a minefield of sheep poo)

We were pretty lucky too - we didn't encounter much rain, which was a great blessing considering how notoriously temperamental English (or in this case, Welsh) weather is. In any case, I included a couple of photos I took during the hike, one of which I hope would make Yale-NUS College proud :P 

During the hike I got to speak to Elder (Jared) Sapaden, who is from London. For those of you in Singapore, Elder Sapaden was from Brother Kevin Koh's ward! In fact, Elder Sapaden was taught by Brother Koh in Young Men's! Help tell Brother Koh that Elder Sapaden says hi! Elder Sapaden's parents are from the Philippines, and he is serving as an English-speaking missionary in the England Manchester Mission, currently serving on the Isle of Man this transfer cycle. He had previously served with Elder Peterson for a bit, and as a result learnt how to have Gospel conversations in Chinese! He shared with me how it was a miracle that he was sent to the Isle of Man, because President Preston, who acts on divine revelation to decide which areas each missionary is sent to, was prompted to send Elder Sapaden to the Isle of Man. When  Elder Sapaden arrived on the island, he discovered that 1 in 9 on the Isle of Man are Filipinos! Moreover, the Chinese he picked up from Elder Peterson allowed him to find and teach a Chinese man as well! Truly the Lord knows all things, and as long as we trust in His infinite wisdom and obey His will, we can be blessed to witness many miracles.

I'm glad to know that Mom was able to have a good rest by staying at Sister Ren Fen's home. I hope the Seow children behaved a little better knowing that they had a guest in their house!

Mom, you will probably be astounded by how proactive I am in eating fruit here on my mission. I know how you always said back home that you'd have to cut fruits and put them on the table for us, otherwise we boys would never bother to have fruits. Here on my mission, my companion loves to eat fruits, and so whenever we buy groceries on P-days we get plenty of fruits. As you probably saw in some of the photos of the breakfasts I cook, grapes are a main part of our diet :P

Being a missionary has also encouraged me to be as creative with food as possible, for the sheer fun of it. Yesterday I mixed some banana into our pancake mix, with some delicious results :D There have been occasions where creative cooking can backfire - I still remember the time I cooked apples with beef and other vegetables.

I had another memorable dream recently - I was living in a nice house and invited a friend and her parents to come over to enjoy a meal that I had prepared. It was a dream, so I had excellent cooking skills. I put in a lot of effort to prepare the meal for them, but to my dismay, my friend's parents were too busy arguing over something during the meal that they couldn't enjoy the food!

So it is with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are invited by Him to feast upon His words, to partake of the Bread of Life and His Living Waters, never to hunger and never to thirst again. However, if we let our personal trifles distract us, we deny ourselves this wonderful opportunity. How sad he would be, just as I was sad to see the meal I had prepared gone to waste!

I'm running out of time, but I want you to know that I love you all. I received the news about Ee-poh and will write more about it next time. Truly, God's plan of salvation is a wonderful plan!

Much Love,
Elder Chong

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