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.

Hello!

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!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Week 17 (My 22nd Birthday)


Hi Everyone!

It's been a fantastic week! Elder Zavala and I are helping two people
prepare for baptism here in Preston, and another person I previously
taught in Manchester is getting baptised! We've been able to see how
much their lives have changed as they've received the Restored Gospel
of Jesus Christ in their lives.

The other highlight of the week would be celebrating my 22nd birthday,
of course. Since I stay in a four-man flat, I decided to prepare a
feast. I had to start preparing the ingredients about 2 days before my
birthday because I dont' have a huge chunk of time to prepare meals
each day.

I had loads of fun preparing the meal! As a missionary I no longer
have time to draw comics or write music, so cooking is about the final
frontier for me to be creative.


 
 


As you can see in the photos the menu went like this:

Starters:
- Garlic bread (readymade)
- Cream of mushroom soup (made from scratch - I remembered to sift the
flour this time so it didn't have weird lumps in it like the first
time I cooked it at home)
- Salad (readymade, but I added some yellow peppers and olive oil)

Main course:
- Pork chops (marinated overnight with salt, pepper, herbs, lee and
perrin sauce and olive oil; slow cooked in onions and canned lentil
soup for 11 hours)
- Potato and carrot mash (I boiled the carrots and potatoes for a
longer period of time than when I first attempted it for Elder Zavalas
birthday, so I think it was slightly better this time; I would like
Mom to teach me how to make mashed potato fluffy like the one she
makes though)

Dessert:
- Hot chocolate fudge cake (readymade)
- Ice cream (readymade)

Drinks:
- Shloer (sparkling grape juice)

More Photos :




That was probably the fanciest meal I've ever prepared in my entire
life, and my flatmates loved it. Elder Davis claimed it was the
fanciest meal he's ever eaten in his life. I daresay the soup was a
success, and Elder Herrin was convinced that it tasted better and
better the longer we kept it (it lasted us about 3 days).

Anyway, we're planning to prepare a Thanksgiving feast towards the end
of this Transfer hehe. Setting goals and making plans are a huge part
of a missionary's life, and we're definitely going to apply it well to
our upcoming Thanksgiving feast hehe.

By the way, I would like to attempt to cook Nasi Lemak and/or
Hainanese Chicken Rice for my flatmates one of these days, so if
someone could send me the recipes, I would appreciate it very much!

Much love,
Elder Chong

 

 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Week 16! (Elder Zavala's Birthday Feast)


Hello again everyone!

Yesterday was Elder Zavala's birthday, and since we are living in a (posh) four-man flat with two other missionaries, we decided to FEAST.

 

We marinated 12 pieces of pork steak the night before (and then slow cooked it in french onion soup and some vegetables in the morning before we left for Church. When we came back, I made some potatoes and carrots mash (my first attempt) to go with the pork. We had some readymade salad and some toasted bread to go with everything as well. It was DELICIOUS. It was probably the most elaborate meal ever prepared by Elders in the history of the England Manchester Mission.
 



The best part, however, was probably the readymade, microwaveable Hot Chocolate Fudge Cake (drowned in custard) that we had after the main course (it was followed up with chocolate mousse as well).

Mmm...


So in last week's email I wrote about The Voice Of Reason that the four of us Elders staying together decided to appoint while going grocery shopping. Well, we're not sure how effective it works.


"Hey, check this out - we can get 3 hot chocolate fudge cakes for less than 5 pounds!"


"Uhm, haven't we bought quite enough snacks and desserts already? It would be stupid if we have more snacks and desserts than we have actual food. Besides, we haven't even finished those 44 packs of crisps we bought!"


"Elder, it would be stupid NOT to buy it."


In another instance:


"Elders - these Jaffa cakes are going at a discount!"


"Uh oh."


*pause*


"Better buy eight!"


So there we go.


In other news, Elder Zavala and I have been working very hard! I'm Elder Zavala's follow-up trainer, and I've been able to observe how much he has grown as a missionary since the time when he first entered the field. He is a very diligent missionary and together, we've been able to witness many miracles as we've heeded the promptings of the Holy Ghost while going about the Lord's work.


He is also working very hard to improve his Chinese, and he's improving! He's even teaching himself how to read and write Chinese characters (which the MTC didn't teach him).


Speaking about language, I set up an appointment to teach English to an owner of a Chinese restaurant (whom Elder Chan had previously shared the Gospel with). In return, she's providing us with a meal :D


I look forward to hearing from you again next week (and celebrating my birthday on Friday heh heh). Shuan, Ern, and Ray - please take good care of Mom. Also, keep the home tidy and clean so that the Spirit can more fully reside with the family ;) Take care!


Much love,

Elder Chong

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Week 15! (Training Elder Zavala)

Hello Everyone!

This week is Transfer Week again. Alas, my dear follow-up trainer Elder Chan has been called to serve his final transfer as a missionary in Liverpool, where he will be follow-up training one of the two missionaries who were first trained by Elder Cai in Manchester. As a result, my Mission President has assigned me to remain in Preston to follow-up train Elder Zavala!


I've only just barely completed my own training (First 12 Weeks) and now I've been called to train a new missionary! All I can say is that I'm *definitely* going to need the Lord's help in this calling. My own First 12 Weeks was pretty unstable - for various reasons, I served with at least 5 different companions at varying lengths of time all within my first 2 Transfers. Most new missionaries usually stay with their Trainer for the first 2 Transfers. Nevertheless, I see it as a great benefit, for I have been blessed to have picked up skills from 5 highly fantastic, experienced missionaries!


Exciting news this/last week! I've finally attended a baptism for the first time on my Mission! A girl from China named Kai Ge was baptized last week in Manchester. Elder Peterson and I first began teaching her about 2 months ago, and then Elder Cai and I continued to teach her. After I transferred over to Preston, Elder Cai and the other 2 new missionaries continued to teach her, and she was baptised last week! I had to rush to Manchester from Preston in order to attend the baptismal service, and I arrived just as the baptismal service began. After the baptism, Kai Ge was extremely happy, and her countenance was truly shining with the Light of Christ. I was overjoyed to see her begin a new life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ :) 



This is a photo I took with Kai Ge after the baptism
This General Conference was historic! President Monson's announcement about the new age requirement for missionaries caused quite a stir. Elders can now serve at the age of 18 whereas Sisters can now serve at the age of 19! As missionaries we were silently cheering when we heard the announcement :D To our amusement,one of the Apostles later mentioned that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was the first of the 19-year old Elders in their mission in England when the age requirement for Elders was first lowered to 19 in the 1960s.

A couple of funny things happened last week - while I was out sharing the Gospel on the streets I met an interesting man. Our conversation started off all right, but he dropped a rude remark as he left. I wasn't really bothered, since that happens quite often, but what made him interesting was that an hour later, while I was still proselyting further down the street, he tapped me on the shoulder and swiftly pushed a small parcel into my hands. He muttered a brief apology for being rude earlier and hurried off. I was too startled to respond in those short moments, and I wasn't able to speak to him because I had to rush to an appointment. However I did take a look at the parcel as I was walking. The parcel contained a card he bought (addressed to "Whoever You Are") with his written apology for being rude.


The parcel also contained a box of mint-filled chocolates.


Truly, missionaries have the most interesting experiences.


Speaking of interesting experiences, I fell sick last week. I probably caught a cold. My nose went completely haywire for a few days, and it was particularly bad one day. I asked Elder Chan and Elder Zavala for a priesthood blessing in the morning, which they willingly gave.
During the blessing Elder Chan promised me that my illness would not interfere with the missionary work that I would do during the rest of the day. Sure enough, not long after I stepped out of the flat and began speaking to people, I wasn't bothered by my cold at all. The Lord wasn't going to let a cold prevent me from carrying out His work!

Has anyone wondered how 5 missionaries buy groceries when they pool their money together? This might give you an idea: 



We bought 44 packs of crisps for 5 pounds haha! Needless to say, we decided that in the future, we will need to appoint one of us to be The Voice of Reason when we go shopping for groceries together.

More food photos:

 

I took Mom's advice and tossed in some slices of melon
into the cardboard strips (high bran) I had for breakfast. It was great :]



I have been cooking a few Chinese meals for my flatmates. Last week I successfully concocted our family favourite - corn soup! Complete with starch and eggs :) It sure reminded me of home :) They loved the Chinese cabbage I stir-fried as well. I can't wait to let them try the buttered stir-fried string beans I cooked a few times in Manchester - some of the Elders in Manchester who tried it called me up later to ask me how to cook it. 



In this photo, I made use of a slow-cooker we obtained to cook some pork with readymade black bean sauce, garlic, sichuan peppers and star anis (I'm not sure about the spelling). It smelled REALLY GOOD. But after tasting it, I think I threw in too much of the sichuan peppers and star anis, and too little salt. Elder Chan, the only other missionary who could truly evaluate my Chinese cooking, agreed that it somehow smelled a lot better than it tasted XD The dish in my right hand is some stir fried brocolli, cauliflower and carrots (with garlic).
 

My last photo with Elder Chan before he transferred to Liverpool. I am going to miss him. He is only missionary in the entire mission that I could speak to in (Malaysian slash Hong Kong slash Cantonese-ish) Mandarin in the flat, and he's going home this November :(

We're going to get our shopping done in a moment (although we haven't appointed The Voice of Reason yet) so I need to go. I'll be having P-day on Monday in just a few days, so I hope to be able to hear from all of you soon! Take care!



Much love,

Elder Chong

Monday, October 01, 2012

Week 14! (Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!)

Hello everyone!

This week, Elder Chan, Elder Zavala and I moved to a new flat, which is possibly the most posh flat in the entire England Manchester Mission. We are sharing the flat with our Zone Leaders, Elder Delaibatiki (from New Zealand) and Elder Herrin (from Utah). Elder Herrin was formerly my District Leader when I was serving in Manchester - the one I woke up in the middle of the night during the exchange because I apparently shouted in my sleep XD


The new flat is FANTASTIC. The kitchen is huge and it even has an island - my dream kitchen! The carpets are very nice, there's a fireplace, and there's even a jacuuzi/bathtub/shower! We just cleaned up the new flat this morning, so you'll probably see the huge mess that was in our new flat in the photos I attached :P


I DID get the mooncakes!!!! The timing was very good. Normally, anything that gets sent to the Mission Office only reaches the missionaries during Multi-Zone Trainings or Zone Conferences, which occur only once every 6 weeks. However, the Office Elders helped us move into our new flat, so they brought the package to me! Hence, we were able to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival by eating mooncakes last night :D


Thanks so much for the mooncakes AND the milo, Mom! Elder Chan was overjoyed when I shared the mooncakes with everyone - he hasn't had mooncakes for nearly 2 years XD Both Elder Chan and Elder Delaibatiki were also delighted to be able to share some of the Milo!

About to enjoy the mooncakes together
An overjoyed me with the package AND a letter from my friend :D
Me messing around with Elder Chan's fake glasses

I'm off to do some massive grocery shopping now. Have a great week, everyone!

Much love,

Elder Chong