Last 2 months of Elder Chong Woon Han's Chinese speaking Mission in Manchester UK

Comments from Elder Chong's father :
This blog continues from the last blog post that was designated as the last 6 months of his mission.

Now we find that an increased number of photos in his weekly mails has lengthened the last blog to make it practical to create this last or 4th blog post which would be a timely marker too as it will contain a report of his 'Last 2 months' of his voluntary full time mission of 2 years from the day he reported to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) on 28 June 2012. The first year of his missionary experience is found in this first blog post.

His Mission report to his family and friends continue...

Sunglasses in the Spring
Week 94 (14 April 2014)

We're starting to get beautiful blue skies in the Springtime here!

As you can see, it's great to not be the driver hehe!

With such great blue skies and sunny days Elder Caleira and I had no excuse not to whip out our sunglasses.

(rest assured that we only wear them while driving - imagine what it would be like if we wore them while attempting to stop people on the street)

Sunglasses are also great fun when you pull a prank on the other missionaries in your flat when you come back to the flat one night like this, claiming that you've just watched the new Spider-man movie:

(note: we got the popcorn from an activity the YSA Ward held that evening)

They're also great for taking P-day photos:

The Mormons are coming!

Speaking of P-day... check out the salmon pasta dish I improvised earlier today:
I mixed our remaining fusili and penne pasta together with cooked onions, peppers & mushrooms. Next I threw in canned Atlantic Salmon followed by a generous drizzle of sesame oil and a douse of garlic & herb dressing. Seasoned lightly with black pepper and basil, garnished with clementines. Elder Caleira loved it :D

Last week I also experimented with salads
It was so easy - we bought ready-tossed mixed salad and simply mixed it with canned salmon, onions, raw mushrooms, ham, cheese, and Thai sweet chilli sauce and sesame oil. I was hoping the nutrition would help me get over the cold Elder Caleira and I caught last week. (we're feeling much better now)

Some other highlights from last week:

Elder Caleira had a ping-pong match with Mauro a recently baptised member of the YSA Ward who is also from Portugal. 
 (their distance from the ping-pong table in the above photo suggests the intensity of the match)

 Also, we had the baptism of Michael, from China!
Michael is 2nd from the right. It was a real treat that Zeng (2nd from the left), who is also from China and was baptised almost exactly a year ago, was able to baptise Michael. You can see our neat little baptismal font filled with (warm) water in the background.

We've been really busy! But it's been great to have the help of members of the YSA Ward, for example, Pierre (from Congo) who often comes out with us to teach people:

And of course, there's always beautiful Springtime (P-days) when we can rest in the flat to recover from our busyness and enjoy the sunshine, as you can see Elder Caleira is doing in this photo below:

 He was quickly joined by our flatmates Elder Butterfield and Elder Yates ;)

Happy Easter and PILLOW FORT!
Week 95 (21 April 2014)

Happy Easter Everyone!

On Saturday of the Easter Weekend, Elder Caleira and I decided that it would not be effective to street contact on our usual Oxford Road, as there was practically nobody on the streets. We decided to get on our knees to pray and ask Heavenly Father to guide us to a particular street where we would be able to meet people who would accept the Restored Gospel.

As soon as we got on our knees to pray, the name "Gabriel" came into our minds, and we discussed our impression as we looked up "Gabriel" on the map... only to find that it was half an hours' drive away to either Middleton or Oldham! They were both still technically within our proselyting boundaries because as YSA missionaries we cover both the Manchester and Ashton Stakes. Nevertheless it was a relatively long drive compared to what we normally do, and we were not sure if it was worth, or if the prompting was really from Heavenly Father at all.

Eventually we decided that we did not want to spend the rest of our lives wondering if we really did receive direction from Heavenly Father but ignored it. So we drove to Middleton.

We arrived to our particular street and knocked on every single door to share our message. We were rejected by every single one until the very last house on the street... which turned out to be a member of our church!

We told the member residing within that we had no idea what we were doing in Middleton, only that Heavenly Father brought us there. The member living in the home gave us some directions to an area nearby where we could try talking to people. We followed her instructions, and although we did not find any YSA (singles aged 18-30), we were invited into a home where we taught 5 middle-aged friends whom the other missionaries will follow-up on!

Later in the evening, we tried the street in Oldham (my previous area), which turned out to be a rather posh neighbourhood filled with retired couples who had no interest whatsoever. As Elder Caleira and I were about to return to the car after knocking on every single door, 2 young adults walked out of a house across the street.

We started a conversation with them, quickly learning that they were aged 18, just the right age group for our assignment! We had a great conversation with them explaining the purpose of life and how we can find lasting happiness. They'll be meeting us again this week!

Through this experience on Saturday I was reminded of the importance of always following God's guidance, even if we are not sure of the outcome. Just like Nephi in the Book of Mormon, sometimes we too are "led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [we] should do." As long as we're willing to put our trust in God, He will lead us step by step to our "promised land"!


Elder Caleira had a baptism in his previous area in Manchester! A Portuguese woman he had taught quit smoking and got baptised!

On Easter Sunday, Elder Caleira got a text from a member of the church telling us that if we were in need of a tea appointment, we could visit the member's family any time. Elder Caleira politely declined.

About an hour later, the same member texted us saying that their family had "accidentally cooked too much food" and we could "come and collect the leftovers before they get thrown away". And so we found ourselves at their home, where we were quickly force-fed an English Roast Dinner. Unfortunately, when Elder Caleira had texted the family to tell them that we would come and get the leftovers, he had joked that "it's perfect timing because we're out of food in our fridge!". And so not only did they stuff us, they also handed us a few bags of groceries! 

Happy Easter...

During the week, Elder Butterfield made a "pillow" fort (we didn't really have that many pillows, just lots of extra blankets) in our bedroom. We have 2 bunk beds so Elder Butterfield decided to get creative: 
Elder Butterfield and I both sleep on the bottom bunks, mine on the left and his on the right. As you can see, mine has a neat little window where the blanket he used was cut for a particular purpose in the past.

Here's what it's link inside our fort! 
 Sometimes he climbs over to my side:

 Here's some photos of us climbing out of our fort through the window:

We might've taken Christ's instruction to "be as little children" a little too far...

This morning we were treated with the opportunity of visiting the Preston England Temple with a bunch of other missionaries! 

 Not far behind us was another car packed with missionaries:
Elder Yates (in the other car): "Is that my camera?!?!"

Finally we arrive at the Temple! 

After attending a session in the Temple at 9am, we were able to take some photos with the other missionaries who were there:

I helped take a photo for Elder Yates, who has most kindly loaned me his camera this transfer because neither Elder Caleira nor I have a working camera!

 Elder Caleira and I also took a companionship photo:

And of course, flat photos:

I also got to reunite with Elder Quaresma, who also visited the Temple today. He was formerly in our infamous "Oozma Kappa District"!
 I love the Temple!

After our Temple visit, a bunch of us missionaries headed to downtown Manchester to have a meal together
Happy Easter!

We came, We saw, We Plunger-ed!
Week 96 (28 April 2014)

Elder Yates turned 20 this week!

 In the meantime, I'm not getting any younger either...

 As we grow older we also begin to learn more housekeeping skills. Let me share an experience we had one morning...

*Phone rings at 7am*

"Good morning Sisters! It's Elder Caleira and Elder Chong."

"Hi Elders... do you happen to have a plunger?"

"A what?"

"Yeah, a plunger... uhm, our toilet got clogged..."

*Elder Chong starts dying laughing in the background*

"Don't worry Sisters, we'll call President Preston to get permission and we'll come over and sort it out for you."

And so we called President Preston for permission to go over to the Sisters' flat to help them out. President simply laughed.

So off we went to get a plunger from Tesco

 It cost like, 2 pounds

So we arrived at the Sisters' flat

Having clogged a toilet before myself, it was only fair that I was the one who would unclog the toilet this time. So I prepared myself:

 Off we go!

 Halfway through I had to take a break so Elder Caleira could readjust my face mask
You can see the Sisters were having a blast taking photos. Here's a photo of us at the end. 

(You can see that the plunger is slightly bent)

It was all worth it in the end, because the Sisters made us breakfast in return for our help!

Other fun stuff this week:

Elder Yates set up a mini ping-pong set on his study desk:


Elder Butterfield made some delicious tomato soup:

I crossed a street...

Elder Butterfield upgraded our bed fort and added a shelter:

We had Stake Conference (I took notes)

I improvised a rosti dish: grated potatoes baked with cheese and bacon:

And for the main highlight of the week (and the entire month of April)...

Nigel's baptism!!!!
I met Nigel on the street on a cold winter's night a few months ago (he still remembers I had my ukulele with me). He comes from Malacca, Malaysia, and attended the Singaporean/Malaysian Night where I cooked Laksa at the Pews. Since then he's been coming to church and has experience the spiritual power of the Book of Mormon. He shared with us how he was struggling with some problems with a uni project a couple of weeks ago. When he started reading the Book of Mormon every day, he received inspiration to solve the problems! He was baptised on the week of his birthday, and I had the honour of performing a baptism for a fellow Malaysian for the very first time on my Mission!
Truly it has been a wonderful experience serving the Lord and sharing the Gospel. This past week I have learnt a lot about how much Heavenly Father loves us His children. Elder Caleira and I have been guided in very specific things and I've also witnessed the power of Priesthood blessings several times these past 2 weeks. I know God lives and His power continues to support us today.

Week 97 (5 May 2014)

We had another baptism this past week!

Tan (in the very centre of the photo) got baptised! Tan is originally from Vietnam but has lived half of his life in Manchester (so he has a proper Mancunian accent). His friend on the extreme right on the photo, Mauro from Portugal, baptised him on Sunday morning.

Sidenote: Mauro himself was only baptised not too long ago during Christmas time in 2013!
Following the baptism, Tan bore incredible testimony of his experience and how he changed from a hardened atheist to a committed follower of Christ.

Tan had multiple encounters with Mormon missionaries on the streets of Manchester over the past 2 years. Each time, he was having a really bad day and tried to give them a hard time, but they always left a good impression on him and answered his questions well. Fun fact: Elder Bytheway was one of the missionaries who left an impression on him several months ago.

However, for various reasons he always didn't show up for the follow-up appointments they set up with him. Finally Mauro moved into his accommodation a few months ago. Tan noticed something different about Mauro and when he spoke to Mauro about it, he learnt that Mauro goes to church, and Mauro invited him to come church as well.

Tan showed up for his first day at church on Sunday almost an hour early. Nobody was in the building and he was about to turn around and leave when he happened to meet our Bishop, who very warmly welcomed him and pointed out that the service had not started yet. Tan decided to have breakfast and came back later for the service.

Tan soon realised that God had sent all those missionaries to him in the past and was finally ready to commit to God. There were many bumps along the way but he was able to recognise that God was always there helping him along. God constantly placed the other YSA Elders, Elders Cox and Johnson, in Tan's path almost every day during the 2 weeks leading up to Tan's baptism. This helped Tan gain a testimony that God always looks after him. 

At the end of his baptism, Tan's mother (who came to see the baptism) stood up and thanked everyone for helping her son so much, because he has really changed so much since the time he started learning to follow Jesus Christ. It was most certainly the highlight of the week!

Other fun stuff this past week:

Elder Caleira Skype'd his family for Portugues Mothers' Day!
 I was sitting next to him without much else to do so I sketched his parents:
 I did find something to do while Elder Caleira was Skyping - taking random photos of myself:
 In the above photo you can see the socks that Sujie and Jay sent me for Christmas. Hooray for no more holes in my socks!

Also, a selfie:

This past Sunday was also the special once-a-month missionary fireside at the Swinton Chapel. It partially meant that I got to reunite with many other friends and missionaries from all around the mission who attended it:
Sam (now Sister Perrie from  Liverpool) and Elder Jin

Jason from Preston! 

 Elder Razanadahy from Madagascar!

 Elder Quaresma, formerly in the Oozma Kappa District!

Elder Kulygin from Russia! Incidentally, we're teaching a man who comes from the same city as Elder Kulygin!
Jared, who was formerly Elder Sapaden in the England Manchester Mission!

Sim and Jack, two Chinese converts from Liverpool who were baptised after I left Liverpool, with President and Sister Preston, our Mission President and his wife!

Oh yeah, Elder Caleira got his trunky letter this past week!

 Speaking of Elder Caleira, check out his pyjamas!
 Doesn't he look like Mr Schmee in his pyjamas?

This morning, the Bishop of the YSA Ward treated us and our Ward Mission Leader Christian to breakfast at his home:
It was a special treat for the 6 missionaries serving in the the YSA Ward, to celebrate the missionary success we have been blessed with in the YSA Ward.

We arrived to see that the table had been set up:

 Each plate had a special form we all had to fill up...

...and hand to Sister Roberts, Bishop's wife, who prepared the massive breakfast for us:
(fun fact: the Elder on the side of the photo is Elder Johnson, who is from Las Vegas and was previously in the same Stake and High School as ex-Elder Cai, whom I served with in my 2nd transfer as a missionary in the UK!)

Elder Cai and I almost 2 years ago: 

Anyway, back to the breakfast this morning...

At the end of this week I will commence the final transfer of my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the UK. In other words, I have 6 weeks left till I return to Singapore! It has been a long and wonderful journey thus far and I look forward to working hard and serving the Lord with all the effort I can muster to the very end.

Week 98 (12 May 2014)

Guess what's happening in 6 weeks?
(Elder Bytheway and his companion and Elder Caleira and I drove some of the departing missionaries to the Manchester airport, so we borrowed their luggage and took a photo)

Photos with some of the departed missionaries:

Elder Garret Evans

Elder Daniel Cox

Picking them up to take them to the airport:

It was a weird moment for me and Elder Bytheway...

 We had a great chat with Elder Alexander Barth and Elder Garret Evans while we drove them to the airport
(car selfie!)

 At the airport:

And here's a photo to prove that we actually were at the airport haha:
Speaking of airports, here's a funny story from the beginning of my mission:

It was at this very same airport that I arrived on the 28th of June 2012, only to find that there was nobody to pick me up! Apparently they had picked up a whole bunch of missionaries and accidentally left me out! After waiting for about an hour I finally decided to get the MTC number from my missionary call packet and rang the number using a payphone (many thanks to Brother and Sister Ho from Singapore who gave me some British money before I left Singapore - I was able to use the coins they gave me to ring the MTC!). 

Nobody from the MTC picked up, so I tried calling the Mission Office in Manchester instead. They answered and were a little startled to find out what had happened. They promised to get in touch with the MTC to inform them. About 15 minutes later I called again and they told me that the MTC had dispatched someone to come pick me up, so I ended up waiting for over another hour.

Little did I know that waiting around the airport at the start of my mission would turn out to be a foreshadowing of things to come... This past week I was at the Mission Office typing out stuff about Chinese Missionary work in the England Manchester Mission. While I was there, Elder and Sister Owens, the office couple, showed me my flight details for when I go back to Singapore! I will be flying back to Singapore on the 19th of June 2014, and I will be having an 8 HOUR LAYOVER AT LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT!!!!

Elder Bytheway joked that maybe his family (who are coming to pick him up at Manchester) could drive down to London and take me out for a bit before my flight from London to Singapore hahaha.

Oh, I realised last week that I haven't really shown photos of what a Transfer Meeting is like here in the England Manchester Mission. It's basically when missionaries who are getting moved all meet in Manchester before heading out to their new areas.

Transfer meetings are often a time of farewells, for example with Elder Yates, who has been transferred to Runcorn as a new Zone Leader in the Chester Zone!

Here's one of the last car selfies we took while driving him down to the transfer meeting:
Transfer meetings are also a time for quick reunions with missionaries...

Here's a photo of me and Elder Gabler (from Germany).
I was on exchange with Elder Gabler the very day that I got a phone call with news of Mom's passing. He took very good care of me that day, including baking a whole mountain of cookies!

Elder Greenland and me:
He's too tall to fit in this photo apparently (remember the panoramic photos we used to take?)

Elder Hawks, who will be finishing his mission in the blessed land of Liverpool where we served together in 2013!

Elder Zavala, whose Sister served in the same mission as Sujie at the same time in 2007!
Elder Noad, from the infamous Oozma Kappa District!

Other random photos from last week:

The Trafford Centre!
It's a massive shopping mall in the outskirts of Manchester. We went there last P-day to do some shopping. I almost bought a nice new suit but a saleswoman tried to persuade me to buy another suit that cost £100 more, so I just walked out without buying anything.

We took some car selfies on the way back:
Elder Johnson in the backseat 

Elder Cox celebrating his final P-day in the backseat.

While cleaning the flat this morning Elder Butterfield decided to fill up the kitchen sink with water (after we cleaned it) and took a photo of ourselves with his waterproof camera in the sink.
I guess you can't really tell that the camera is underwater, but my face does seem pretty round. Next time we'll try taking photos with our faces in the sink as well haha.

On our way back from grocery shopping it started hailing! 

Here's a photo of us taking shelter:

Also, we had a Zone Meeting last week. It was the final Zone Meeting of the transfer so we all took a photo
Kudos to all the brilliant missionaries in the photo who all worked so hard this past transfer. Elder Caleira and I were continually amazed whenever we received reports of how the missionaries in the Zone were doing. The recent Apostolic declaration that the Lord is hastening His work is absolutely true. All around Manchester, missionaries are bringing more and more people to Christ. Often, we are not only participants in this work but also observers of the Lord's mighty arm and power in His work. Truly, God lives!

And to end off this week's email, I would like to give all my thanks to God, who has blessed me so abundantly for deferring my matriculation to university in order to serve a full-time mission. This is what I received in my email this past week:

Truly, God cares for all those who will put their trust in Him and serve Him. Following my decision to serve a Full-time, 2-year Mission before university, even with my concerns regarding financing my university studies, I have now seen a fulfilment of our Saviour's promise in the New Testament, Matthew 6:31-34

 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day isthe evil thereof.

God is great!

An Unexpected Encounter!
Week 99 (19 May 2014)

Here's another "trunky" flight-related photo to start off this email :

So this morning I got a surprise phone call from my uncle, or "Si Pek", as we would call him back home! He was having a holiday in the UK and had contacted President Preston in order to visit me! It was perfect timing as it was our P-day, so we met up at the Trafford Centre for lunch
 Aunt "Si Em" and Uncle "Si Pek"

We went to TGI Fridays where were treated to an amazing meal:
I was definitely stuffed and happy at the end!
After the wonderful meal we exchanged goodbyes and promised to meet up back in Singapore when I return. We missionaries then went off to go shopping around the Trafford Centre!

Eventually we found ourselves looking at suits at Next:
I think the 3rd suit (the light grey one) is a winner - although I'm going to have to lose the excess 5-10 kilos I gained on my mission if I want to be able to properly fit into these suits!

Although we didn't end up buying any new suits, Elder Caleira and I did walk away with amazing new shoes (pun intended)
So I finally got myself a nice pair of brown shoes, at only £20 at Debenham! It was an offer I could not refuse (if only we were met with the same kind of response when we introduce the Gospel to people)

These new brown shoes will go well with the blue suit I bought at less than half price 2 Boxing Day sales ago:
Now I just need to get a matching brown belt at a good price...

Worldly things aside, this past week I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the Temple again! Evangeline Zhang, whom I taught in my very first 2 transfers as a missionary in Manchester, and who was baptised early in 2013, went to the Preston England Temple this past week to receive her Endowments! Brief explanation: endowments are a sacred ordinance/ceremony performed in our temples, which is crucial to a person's spiritual progression and journey back to God.
The Preston England Temple

It was a fun ride on the way over, particularly the view. The following photo doesn't have the best exposure settings, but it does represent quite well my impression of England before I came to serve here:

We took a car selfie with some of the members of the YSA Ward before the trip:
(Hadrian and Mauro at the backseat)

The Endowment session itself was spiritually refreshing as usual. I learnt a little bit about what I'll need to focus on after my full-time mission.

Here's a photo of me and Pierre, who also received his endowments for the first time that day:

And here's a photo of Evangeline and some of us Elders who taught her before her baptism!

And now for a couple of random selfies...
Me and Ethan Yi, a Chinese student who had asked me to baptise him a couple of months ago

Fred and me - Fred was the very first person to be baptised in our new church YSA building in Manchester!

Fred likes his sunglasses just like I do, so we had to take this photo:

This past Sunday, the YSA decided to have a picnic at a nearby park after church to take advantage of the wonderful sunny weather we've been having:

Tan brought some toys, so we had a bit of fun too:

To end off this week's email, I would like to share something from my journal. I had a rather interesting learning experience during the week, so here's some spiritual food for thought:

Journal entry dated Friday 16 May 2014:

Fed a homeless man named Carl today. I was street contacting with Elder Karaj on exchange around the YSA building in the morning, and while on our way back I noticed a man who had been standing at the same place for a while, looking rather glum. I decided to approach him and speak with him. 

His name was Carl and he had been homeless for several months. He was looking for a homeless shelter. I didn't have a map on me so I couldn't direct him to the address he had.

I discovered that Carl had not eaten for the past 3 days, so I took him to Dominos to get him a pizza. When I asked Carl what he'd like, he picked one of the most expensive items on the menu. My stomach twisted but I bought it for him anyway.

While waiting for the pizza Carl asked if he could have a drink. Dominos only had large bottles of Coke so we went to a next door store. I was thinking of giving Carl my bottle of water, but he asked for a Coke. I was preparing to get him a can of Coke when he asked for an energy drink instead. I noted in my mind how an energy drink would not only be more expensive, but would also dehydrate him further because of the high caffeine content. Nevertheless I didn't say anything and bought Carl what he wanted.

Soon we were seated at Dominos and Carl ate his pizza and drank his energy drink. while he ate, I spoke to a Chinese student who was waiting for his pizza if I could borrow his smartphone to look at a map. He quickly agreed and I located the homeless shelter Carl was looking for, which turned out to be half an hour's walk away.

I had an appointment within the next 15 minutes so as soon as Carl was done eating I asked him if he would be able to make his own way to the shelter if I gave him directions (had I more time I would've walked with him all the way). Carl hesitated and said that he would be more comfortable if he could have a shower first and also a shave. I could've bought him a razor but I wasn't sure what the local police would think of a homeless man shuffling around Oxford Road with a razor in his hand. I also had no idea where he could possibly take a shower without getting kicked out besides at the homeless shelter.

I encouraged Carl to make his way to the shelter, reassuring him that they will have the resources to get him out of his predicament. As I had to leave soon, I asked him if there was anything else he needed, or that I could help him with.

Carl looked at me hesitatingly from the corners of his eyes, and said, either pleadingly or guiltily - or both - " could I have some money please? So I can get through the rest of my day..."

My stomach churned again and I hesitated; up to this point he had not asked for money. I was reluctant to give him money because I felt it would tempt him to purchase beer or cigarettes. Moreover, I didn't want to give the impression that missionaries give out money easily, lest I soon find myself surrounded by the homeless people of Manchester, all seeking for money which really isn't mine to give away to begin with.

I still don't know why I gave Carl the coins I had in my bag, but as I think back on it, as I recall his destitute state - his eyes sunken, his cheeks hollow, his expression glazed, his speech halting - I can only ask myself, how often have I pleaded to Heavenly Father for things I wanted or thought I needed, when He in His greater wisdom knew they were not good for me but allowed me to obtain them anyway? How often have I, after having received so much, after having had my true needs met, still asked God for more than was necessary? How often have I had the Saviour encircle me about with his love, comforting me and pointing me to the path to peace and refuge, the path of eternal life, only to watch me tread down forbidden paths with the very strength He had given me to continue walking on?

Who am I to judge this man, when my own life has been tainted by choices that only the Saviour's everlasting sacrifice can reverse? Who am I to withhold substance from this man, when I have received, so unworthily, so much from the Great and Merciful Creator and Giver of all things? Who am I to turn away this man, when He who was "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," 

-Yes, He from whom "we hid as it were our face", whom we despised and we esteemed not, He who "hat borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted," He who "was wounded for our transgressions" and "was bruised for our iniquities", by whose "stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:3-5) -

Who am I to turn away any man, when Christ, Lord and Saviour of all, the Almighty Master, "hath descended below them all" (D&C 122:8) and gave His life to save a wretch like me? Am I greater than He?

For, "are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment... and for all the riches which we have of every kind?" (Mosiah 4:19)

Truly, "if [we] should serve [God] with all [our] whole souls yet [we] would be unprofitable servants," (Mosiah 2:21), unprofitable servants to the Omnipotent God, who "maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:45)

It was truly a lesson to me that all that I have is of God. He has blessed me greatly with both my temporal and spiritual needs throughout my life. Surely I can spare a little to help a fellow man as undeserving as I?

I know that Heavenly Father loves us more than we can comprehend. He sent His Son to suffer, more than we can comprehend, to save us. This I know in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Photos Galore!
Week 100 (27 May 2014)

All sorts of things happened this week, so I'm best off explaining using a bunch of photos:

Starting off with this week's trunky photo...

I got my DEATH letter this week! It's basically a follow-up of the trunky letter I received last transfer - it contains a letter from my Mission President, President Preston, encouraging me to sprint to the finish and stay focused on missionary work. Oh, and it also includes my flight itinerary - unfortunately I forgot to take down the details, but I do know that I will arrive at Changi Airport in Singapore on the 20th of June 2014 (Friday), somewhere between 3pm - 4pm local Singapore time. I will check my flight itinerary again to get the full details so that those of you who are planning to be at the airport can be there at that time (... or not....)

Today we also celebrate the 22nd birthday of a very important person - my companion Elder Caleira!

It being a bank holiday today, we decided to drive up to Chorley to attend a Temple session in the morning with a bunch of other missionaries. What a treat it was for Elder Caleira to go to the Temple!

The weather was perfect too:
 Sunny, blue skies!

Driving past the English countryside...

... with more missionaries in the backseat...

....until we see the beautiful Preston England Temple overlooking the motorway...

Oh, here's a random selfie I took along the way:

The beautiful Preston England Temple:
It is such a privilege and blessing to be so close to a Temple here in England. The closest temple we have to Singapore/Malaysia is a few hours' flight away in Hong Kong.

Elder Caleira and I took some photos with the Temple...

Going to the Temple also meant reuniting with many other missionaries who came to the Temple on the same day:
Elder Pjetri (centre) once lived in the same flat with me and Elder Bytheway in Stretford where we had a great time together. He also had previously served with Elder Caleira in Barrow-in-Furness.

He was quite excited to see me...

Elder Vaquera from Spain:

Jumpshot with Elder Pjetri:

Reuniting with the one and only Elder Yates:

Group photo of all the missionaries who attended the same Temple Session in the morning:

Attempted walking shot:

Random group selfie:

A bunch of us had lunch together after:
(a car full of missionaries on our tails as we made our way to lunch)


This past week we also had a Mission activity - which included a special training by President Preston, followed by a barbecue, a talent show, some outdoor games and a testimony meeting (featuring missionaries who were in the last transfer of the Mission - which unfortunately included myself)


When it was my turn to bear testimony at the end of the activity day, I spoke of the sacrifices we make to serve God, and how it is all worth it and part of our growth process. I also bore my witness that the Lord takes care of all those who put their trust in Him and serve Him with all their might. I know these things are true because I have experienced them myself these past 2 years.

After church on Sunday we had Munch & Mingle, where everybody brought some food to share to socialise after church.


This was all made possible through the organisational (& culinary) efforts of Elder & Sister Pew!

My fellow Malaysian Nigel surprised & impressed everyone by bringing Sushi which he had made himself!

I went around taking photos with and of random people:
Pierre & Alex (from Congo & Russia respectively) 

 Tan (from Vietnam), myself, and Brian (from England)

 Elder Caleira (from Portugal) with Ryuji & Takumi, who are both from Japan!

Elder Peterson (from Montana), Pierre, and Elder Johnson (from Las Vegas)

 Fred (from Ghana) and Pierre

 Simon (from England/Ghana) and myself

As you can see, we have a very multinational group here in Manchester!


Speaking of our Japanese friends, last week I had my first-ever lesson involving the help of others through Google Hangout! While teaching Takumi about Jesus Christ, we enlisted the help of Amanda Loh from Singapore (who had previously served in the England Manchester Mission) and her friend Jacob, who came back from serving a Mission in Japan only a week ago! Both of them speak Japanese so they helped teach and translate!


Other random things this past week:

1. Elder Caleira and I had lunch using a cardboard box as our table:
 We figured that if either of us get married as soon as we complete our missions, we would not be able to afford much furniture, so we thought we might as well get used to the alternatives......

2. Jacinta lent me her old camera!
(you can see the box containing Hollister cologne Sujie bought me for my birthday last year peeking out from the stuff on the dresser)

3. I got addicted to this bodywash:
It's Vanilla Raspberry flavour - I meant scented. I feel like I'm taking a bath in ice-cream whenever I use it, so I'm considering taking showers 5 times a day.... 

4. While going through my stuff one night to throw out unnecessary junk in preparation for my flight home, I came across all the clothes I had bought during the Boxing Day sale in 2012.

Random fashion show!
I still think the last one makes me look Filipino...

Retro (Liverpool Trip)
Week 101 (6 June 2014)

Extracted from Week 102 : Sorry for missing last week's email! Elder Bytheway and I got permission to make a trip to Liverpool to say goodbye to the friends we've made there on our Mission, so we didn't have much time to email. I had just written 2 long emails full of photos of Week 101 and the trip to Liverpool, and when I sent them, the email service locked down my account temporarily because of the huge amount of data it was sending to so many email addresses. As a result, both emails (which I spent about an hour and a half putting together) completely disappeared and I have no time to put up all the photos again and retype the emails.

No time to explain any more, so here are the photos of our Liverpool Trip!

Comments from his father : (We will ask Elder Chong when he returns to Singapore to update Weeks 101 and 102 when he has more time.)

Technical Difficulties
Week 102 (9 June 2014)

Sorry for missing last week's email! Elder Bytheway and I got permission to make a trip to Liverpool to say goodbye to the friends we've made there on our Mission, so we didn't have much time to email. I had just written 2 long emails full of photos of Week 101 and the trip to Liverpool, and when I sent them, the email service locked down my account temporarily because of the huge amount of data it was sending to so many email addresses. As a result, both emails (which I spent about an hour and a half putting together) completely disappeared and I have no time to put up all the photos again and retype the emails. Evidently, this is why most people nowadays simply use Instagram or Facebook to share large numbers of photos. Unfortunately I'll just have to settle for random photos with little explanation to sum up week 102.

As usual, I'll start with the trunky, flight-themed photos:

And now for all the other photos (no time to put explanations, sorry!)

Final Email and Mission Recap!
Week 103! (16 June 2014)

Today's email will be my final email as Elder Chong to each of you. In 3 days' time, I will be flying home to Singapore and will begin my undergraduate studies in Yale-NUS in Singapore in August. I will arrive at the Singapore Changi Airport on Friday the 20th of June 2014 at 3:50pm local Singapore time.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks to each of you for the support you've shown me during my 2 years of service as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many people find missionary work challenging and even wearying, both physically and emotionally. However, I have enjoyed every single moment of it, particularly because of the lifelong friendships I've built with many of you and so many others.

I have thought long and hard about what my final email should be. I have decided to recount the greatest highlights of my mission - to be able to see how God has touched the lives of those whom I have served. I hope that through the following people's stories, you will be able to see, as much as I have, how much God loves each of His children.

Kai Ge (the girl on the right) first met missionaries in Manchester before I started my mission, but wasn't keen on meeting them at the time. In my very first transfer with Elder Zachary Peterson, she starting taking lessons with us. She already had some Christian beliefs, and at first found it difficult to accept our invitation to read from the Book of Mormon. Eventually, when I was teaching her with Elder Cai, she decided to read it, and shortly after she gained a witness of the truthfulness of our teachings. She was baptised within about two weeks after that on the 3rd of September 2012. She returned to China shortly after.

Zhi Jie (boy on the extreme left) met missionaries through his father (2nd from the right), who first met Elder Cai before I began my mission. He recognised that the teachings of the church would be good for his teenage son, and had Zhi Jie start taking the missionary lessons. Zhi Jie made many friends through the Young Men programme in the Stretford Ward in Manchester, and Elders Cai, Hawks and Hare helped him prepare for his baptism on the 25th of September 2012.

I first met Lindy (girl on the left) when Elder Cai and I were at the bus stop waiting for the bus in Manchester. I had attempted to speak to her friend, who wasn't interested, but she was very curious, because she had met with Jehovah's Witnesses before. We soon got on the same bus and I started explaining to her and her friend about the Restoration of the Gospel. We were invited to visit them in their home later on, and after a few months of learning from Elders Cai, Hawks and Hare, Lindy was baptised on the 5th of January 2013.

Abel (boy on the extreme left) was found by Elder Hawks and Elder Bytheway on exchange in Liverpool before I transferred to Liverpool. He was very curious about religion and proactively contacted Elder Hawks to learn more. Abel loved learning from the Book of Mormon and saw the great wisdom that was contained in the book. He was absolutely ready to make all the changes necessary to follow God and was baptised on the 2nd of March 2013.

I met Siti (boy on the left) on the streets around the University of Central Lancashire in Preston in December 2012. I was serving with Elders Zavala and Greenland at the time and we decided to try something different - Sister Amanda Loh and Sister Hull had made a cardboard Christmas tree for people to write their Christmas wish on, and together the 5 of us used it to start conversations with university students. Sister Loh and I met Siti and as soon as he told us that he was from Thailand, I asked him if he could cook Thai food (he still remembers this). We exchanged phone numbers to set up a cook-out together, but we were never able to get in touch with him after that. 

After I left Preston, Elder Walshe (from Geelong, Australia, the very place where Dad was baptised into the Church all those years ago) went through all the contacts I had left behind and managed to get in touch with Siti. He started taking missionary lessons from Elder Walshe, Elder Greenland and Elder Hare after feeling a prompting that he should. He was baptised on the 20th of April 2013.

Evangeline (girl in white) first met missionaries when she was studying in Sheffield about 3 years and took lessons from them for a while. After she graduated, she moved to Manchester to work. She lost contact with the missionaries and the church, but through "divine coincidences" she repeatedly met Elder Boswell on the bus, who put her back in touch with the missionaries. 

Evangeline was taught by many missionaries in Manchester for almost 2 years. She struggled to understand God's love at first, but finally made a decision to be baptised. Since then she has come to recognise how much her life has changed for the better since her baptism on the 25th of April 2013.

Jack (boy on the right) was taught by Sisters Embley, Smith and Merrill in Liverpool. His personality reminded me of my brother Shuan. We had many chats during the time when he was preparing to be baptised. He met some challenges that the Sisters and I helped him overcome, and I was blessed with the opportunity to perform his Confirmation ordinance after his baptism on the 27th of April 2013.

Elder Hawks and I met Conrad (boy in the centre) when we had an immediate prompting to turn left and head down a particular street as soon as we got of a bus in Liverpool University. He was the first person we spoke to on that street. He was having a really bad day at the time and ignored us at first when we greeted him. When I extended my hand for a handshake and introduced myself as Elder Chong (or Zhang Zhang Lao in Chinese), he stopped and turned around, and told us that we were of the same family name. 

Beginning from that act of showing traditional Chinese respect for those of the same family name, Conrad's life changed completely. We shared with him a scripture from the Book of Mormon about charity which I had been studying from Moroni chapter 7. Conrad loved the scripture so much that he nearly had it tattooed on his back!  He read through almost the entire Book of Mormon within a few weeks, seeking to learn more about repentance. He was impressed by how similar God's teachings in the Book of Mormon were to Confucian values. He made massive changes to his lifestyle and was baptised on the 11th of May 2013.

Elders Zavala and Greenland and I stopped Jason (boy on the extreme right) on the street on a cold, rainy Winter's night close to Christmas in Preston in 2012. We had just helped Sister Amanda Loh and her companion carry some stuff back to her flat and decided to do some street contacting in the area. Jason stopped to speak with us and we taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was reluctant to provide his personal information for us to get in touch with him to teach him more, but accepted a pass-along card from us which referred him to

Weeks later, Elders Herrin and Roberts (who were living with us in the same flat) received notice that Jason had referred himself to be taught by missionaries on They began teaching him and Jason was baptised on the 25th of May 2013. Jason is absolutely in love with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and has already served mini-missions. He looks forward to serving a full-time mission when the time comes.

Abigail (girl on the left) and her mother first met the missionaries in Wrexham a few years ago. She remembers the missionaries giving her a high-five. Her mother and older sister were the first to be baptised at the time, followed by her older brother. Last year, Elders Goodman and Bahr started to help Abigail prepare for her own baptism. Abigail was baptised on my very first week in Wrexham, on the 27th of July 2013. The Gospel has changed her family for the better and Elder Goodman and I were able to see the happiness that it brought to them.

Yan Ling (centre of the photo) took a module on religions of the world in China and was original more inclined towards Buddhist thinking. When she started studying in Liverpool, she met with Jehovah's Witnesses and learnt a lot from them. When she decided to run for a student leadership position at the University of Liverpool, she got in touch online with Ryan Zhou, her predecessor who happened to be a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Ryan gave her advice which helped her attain the position, and she was very grateful for his help. She was impressed by his kindness and was curious to find out more about his religion. Through Wu, a member of the Liverpool Ward, Ryan gave Yan Ling's contact details to me and Elder Hawks. We got in touch with her and started teaching her the Restored Gospel. 

During her learning process, Yan Ling found a lot of answers to her questions that the Jehovah's Witnesses were not able to answer. The insights on the Fall of Adam and Eve given in 2 Nephi 2 were a huge help. However, Yan Ling was reluctant to be baptised because still felt very attached to the Jehovah's Witnesses because of the great friendships she had formed there. In one particular lessons, she felt a very strong prompting from the Holy Ghost that we had shared with her the truth which she needed to follow.

An incredibly humble woman, Yan Ling recognised God's direction for her and was baptised on the 10th of August 2013. Since then, she has found much hope and comfort through Jesus Christ in spite of trials and difficulties. Her husband "E Major" (extreme right) started to learn more about God because of her wonderful example.

Elder Hawks and I met "Black" Wang (2nd from the right) on a snowy afternoon when we were about to meet with Abel in Liverpool. We were waiting outside Abel's student accommodation when we saw Black walking towards us. He uncannily reminded both of us of Abel, and we started a conversation with him. He was studying microbiology and from his studies he believed in the possibility of a Great Creator. We started teaching him right after he returned from a holiday trip.

Black was very receptive and sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost from the very beginning. He made many friends at church, particularly with Elder Nelson (extreme right). He opened up considerably and found much happiness at church, and was baptised on the 12th of October 2013.

Elder Goodman and I met Shuetyee (extreme left) at the library in Wrexham while we were emailing on P-day. I noticed a Chinese woman sitting next to me and started a conversation with her, quickly discovering that she was from Zimbabwe but of Chinese heritage as well.

Shuetyee was very kind to Elder Goodman and me and took us out to eat a few times, including having a BBQ in her front yard on a beautiful summer day. Shortly after, Elder Goodman and I were replaced by Elders Kunzler and Hammond, who started teaching her the Restored Gospel.

Shuetyee enjoyed meeting with missionaries but felt that she would remain Catholic. Elders Kunzler and Hammond brought a member of the Wrexham Ward for one of their lessons, and he invited Shuetyee to come to church to meet his wife. Shuetyee accepted his invitation and attended church, and from that point onward she started to progress spiritually, and she was baptised on the 12th of October 2013 - the very same day as Black Wang.

Elder Nelson and I met Rikesh (left) while we were walking down the streets of Liverpool on a particularly rough day for us. We spoke to him about finding happiness and the purpose of life. He wanted to know more about these things, and so we met up with him at McDonalds the next week.

Since Elder Nelson and I were assigned to teach only Chinese people while we were in Liverpool, we passed Rikesh, who is originally from Nepal, to Elders Kunzler and Michaelson (and later on Elder Hammond) to be taught. Rikesh started to find much more happiness by living the Gospel, and even his relationship with his father improved. Rikesh was baptised on the 23rd of November 2013.

Pictured above are some of the Chinese families I got to know during my short 6-week stay in Wrexham in 2013. The 3rd Chinese mother from the right is Lin, who was baptised by Elder Chan over a year before I came to Wrexham. Through Lin and other personal encounters, Elder Goodman and I found a whole network of Chinese mothers from the Fujian province of China, all living in Wrexham. All of them were very kind to us, and Elder Goodman and I were always treated to delicious traditional Chinese food whenever we visited them!

Shortly after we left Wrexham, Sisters Embley and Lau got in touch with Shannon (2nd woman from the right), a friend whom Lin introduced to us, and started teaching her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Almost to the surprise of Lin, Shannon embraced the teachings that the Sisters shared with her and was baptised in the autumn of 2013.

Elaine (centre) first met Elders Zavala and Greenhalgh in Manchester. She started attending church, but became too busy to meet for a few months. Soon, Elder Hawks, Sloop and Greenland got back in touch with her and started teaching her again. She recognised the goodness of Christ's teachings and was baptised on the 28th of November 2013, the very first week of my return to Manchester.

Since then, I have been blessed with the opportunity to help her continue to learn and grow in the church. A few months ago, I met with Elaine while on exchange with Elder Garrett Evans. She told us about her recent struggles with her parents, whose plans for her could not be more in conflict with her own aspirations. She was very stressed out over the matter, and we felt prompted to offer her a Priesthood blessing, which she accepted. As Elder Evans and I gave her the blessing, we felt prompted to promise her that her parents would come to understand the importance of allowing Elaine to make her own decisions.

Within the next hour, Elaine received a phone call from her mother, telling her that both parents had finally agreed to let her make her own decisions! Since her baptism, Elaine has noticed very clearly the difference the Gospel brings into her life.

Elder Hawks was the first missionary to meet Lam (centre) in Manchester. Lam was already a Christian in Hong Kong and had been praying to God to find out which church he should attend when he started studying in Manchester. He was very skeptical at first when Elder Hawks started teaching him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, he received very clear answers to his prayers when he asked God if he should be baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He realised that his reluctance to be accept the Restored Gospel stemmed from his attitude of putting his own comfort before God's will.

Since his baptism on the 12th of December 2013, Lam has learnt to put God first and recognises the blessings that God has given him throughout his life!

Mauro (left) was introduced to the church by Sisters Maiurnikova and Lyman in Manchester. Mauro is from Portugal, and I first met him at an activity in Manchester, and about a week later Elder Greenland and I bumped into him on the streets of Manchester when we were on our way to the library. 

The Sisters later told us that his encounter with us encouraged him to continue taking missionary lessons with them! I interviewed Mauro for his baptism, and we connected very well, so he asked me to perform his baptism ordinance on the 28th of December 2013 - the most wonderful Christmas/New Year's gift I could possibly receive at the time!

Ethan (right) was found and taught by Sisters Merrill and Jordan in Manchester. He had met missionaries on the street many times since he started studying in Manchester. He was not interested at first, but had come to a point where he started to become curious about religion and its benefits when he finally met the Sisters.

Ethan found the teachings in the church very beneficial. In particular, he felt that his temper had improved considerably since he started living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was blessed with the opportunity to perform his baptism ordinance - the very first baptism in the Manchester YSA Ward in 2014!

Ally (girl in the centre) lived in a room opposite from Zeng (another Chinese convert of the Church) in a student accommodation in China. She noticed that Elders Hawks and Greenland frequently visited Zeng, and was curious to find out what it was about.

Elder Greenland and I started teaching Ally, and at first, we were not sure how seriously she was taking the lessons. However as time went on we started to notice a change in Ally. We weren't too sure what brought the change up until the day she was baptised on the 13th of February 2014. Ally bore her testimony of how the teachings of Jesus Christ had changed her outlook on life. She had received many answers to her prayers, and she had learnt to be more charitable. She was especially grateful for the lesson we had taught her about the Law of Chastity, which taught her how to respect her God-given body. Since then Ally has found much happiness living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As child growing up in Ghana, Fred (centre) had a dream in which Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and spoke to him. He did not know who they were at the time, but he woke up with a desire to be with them again. He asked his mother about it, and she explained to him who Jesus Christ was.

Fred grew up with a desire to follow Jesus Christ and attended many different churches to find the one that would bring him the closest. In his teenage years, Fred had another dream, in which a spirit appeared to him and spoke to him. This spirit had a light which filled his entire room, and when they spoke, the spirit introduced himself as Smith. Fred was ridiculed when he told others about this particular dream, but he remembered it.

Years later, in Manchester, Fred met Sister Jordan on a bus. Sister Jordan had started a conversation with him and began to talk to him about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As soon as Sister Jordan mentioned Joseph Smith's name, Fred immediately recognised Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. Since then, Fred embraced the Restored Gospel that Elders Bytheway, Barth, and I taught him, and he was baptised on the 13th of March 2014, the very first baptism performed in the new YSA Building in Manchester!

Kiri (first girl from the right) began her journey towards God more than 2 years ago when missionaries first knocked on her mother's door in Manchester. Her mother Kate (4th from the left) invited the missionaries in to share their message. They left Kate a copy of the Book of Mormon, but for various reasons, Kate never saw them again. Finally in 2014, Elders Debenham, Walker and Cox (4th, 3rd, and 2nd from the right) were going through old missionary records in their "Area Book" and came across the record the original Elders had created for Kate. Not much was recorded on the record other than Kate's name and address and the names of the missionaries who had first met her.

The 3 new Elders felt prompted by the Spirit to revisit Kate, and they started teaching her. Shortly after Kate was baptised, Kiri started taking the missionary lessons too. She embraced the happiness the Gospel brought into her life and was baptised on the 27th of March 2014. Her Confirmation ordinance was performed by the very same person who had knocked on her mothers door more than 2 years ago - Elder Jay Acanthe, who had completed his mission in 2012 and started studying in Manchester as a member of the Manchester YSA Ward. Kiri's story goes to show that no missionary effort is wasted at all!

Michael (2nd from the right) first met Elder Hawks in Manchester and had left his contact details. Elder Hawks was not able to get in touch with him afterwards, until I returned to Manchester and started serving with Elder Greenland. Elder Greenland followed an inspired prompting to contact every single phone number saved on the phone to invite each person to learn more about the church. Michael was one of those who accepted the invitation to learn more.

Michael shared with us that when he was at the age of 13 in China, he had chanced upon a painting of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and felt very strongly that he should find out more about what that meant. When we started teaching him about Jesus Christ, he knew immediately that he believed in Jesus Christ, and was baptised on the 10th of April 2014 by Zeng (2nd from left)

Nigel (left) is from Malaysia! He first met Elder Greenland and I on a cold winter's night in Manchester. He had taken an exam in the morning and accidentally left something behind on campus. He returned to retrieve it in the evening, and in the process, ran into me and Elder Greenland. (Nigel still remembers that I was playing the ukulele and talking to people)

Already a Christian baptised in Malaysia, Nigel was both skeptical and curious about the Book of Mormon. He attended the Singaporean/Malaysian Night I organised at the Pews' home (where Jacinta and I cooked Laksa for everyone) and accepted Sisters Merrill and Jordan's invitation to come to church.

Nigel started to take the missionary lessons after that and accepted our invitation to read the Book of Mormon. Elder Bytheway and I promised him that by doing so, he would receive blessings from God, even in his university work.

Within a week since we promised him such blessings, Nigel encountered a problem in his university project. He remembered the promise we had extended him and decided to put it to a test by reading the Book of Mormon every day while he worked on his project. As he read from the Book of Mormon, he felt a clear sense of peace fill his heart, reassuring him that everything would be okay. Shortly after, he received inspiration that helped him solve the problem in his project, bringing his project into an even better state than it was in before!

This experience helped him realise that the Book of Mormon was truly the word of God, and hence he was able to accept the Book of Mormon as evidence of Joseph Smith's prophetic calling to restore the true church of Jesus Christ. Nigel was baptised on the 24th of April 2014, 2 days after his 23rd birthday!

Tan (centre) is originally from Vietnam but has lived in Manchester for many years. He was originally from a Roman Catholic family but his stepfather was a Buddhist. Tan faced many difficulties in life, which made him question whether God was really there.

Over the course of about 2 years, Tan met missionaries on the street several times. Each time he met them on the street, he had tried to give them a hard time by asking difficult questions, but every time he was impressed by how well they answered his questions. One of these missionaries, in fact, was Elder Bytheway! Sadly, Tan did not accept their invitations to come to church to learn more.

Finally one day Tan noticed a boy named Mauro who moved into his accommodation. He noticed something very special about Mauro - he always seemed happy and had a kind of light shining from him. Tan decided to ask Mauro what made him so happy. This Mauro was none other than the Mauro I baptised during Christmas in 2013! Mauro told Tan about the church that he was attending, and invited him to come along.

Tan came to church at the new YSA Building in Manchester almost an hour early. The ground floor was empty and he was about to leave when he heard footsteps coming from the stairs. Tan decided to see who it was and ended up meeting with Bishop Roberts, whose warm welcome helped Tan decide to come back for the service after having breakfast first.

Tan loved the feelings of peace and happiness he had in church, and was absolutely thrilled to learn that he is a son of God. He wholeheartedly embraced the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and many of his friends noticed that he had become a much happier person. Tan was baptised on the 4th of May 2014. His mother attended the baptism and thanked everyone for helping Tan become such a better person!

The Mendes family (the Africans dressed in white) came into contact with the Church through their Spanish friends who were baptised in the Ashton. Also originally from Spain, the Mendes family was taught by Elders Holyoak (who spoke a little bit of Spanish), Paheroo and Omot. Elder Omot was the very same missionary that taught and baptised the Spanish family in Ashton. When Elder Caleira became Zone Leader with me, we started driving to Salford to help teach the Mendes family, since Elder Caleira was able to speak Spanish quite fluently.

Last Saturday, the 14th of June 2014, 6 members of the Mendes family were baptised. I was blessed with the opportunity to perform the baptism ordinance for their son Luis. It was a truly special moment for me, being able to spend my last weekend as a full-time missionary performing a baptism at such a wonderful event!


The last person I will mention has a truly incredible story. His name is Nick and he first met Elder Chan in 2012 when he was studying in Preston.
A photo Nick sent Elder Zavala and me

In Nick's own words, his baptism was truly a "happy ending" for Elder Zavala and me. To have taught Nick at the beginning of our missions and to see him get baptised at the end of our missions is a rare privilege and blessing.

Nick's story (as well as the stories of all the other people mentioned in this email) is a testament to me that God remembers His children. He reaches out to each of us in many ways, hoping that we would only accept His love and come closer to Him.

Brothers and Sisters, it is my privilege to be able to bear testimony to all of you that God lives, and that he loves each and every one of us. My past 2 years in the England Manchester Mission has been filled with incredible experiences and miracles, more than any email could possibly contain.

I have seen the Lord's hand in all things, guiding me and uplifting me. He rejoices with me in good times, and carries me through difficult times. I owe him everything that I have, and it is my wish to stand as a witness of Jesus Christ to the world for the remainder of my life.

Thank you for all the support each of you has given me during these past 2 years. During this time, many of you have been wonderful examples to me of living witnesses of Jesus Christ. For the very last time as Elder Chong, I wish each of you a most wonderful week and life ahead!

May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you, and may we meet again some sunny day.

Comments from Dad : His homing preparation and events that occurred on his arrival with a big family reunion can be viewed in another blog post by clicking here.

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