'I wouldn’t give up my mission for anything'

Elder Chong Woon Shuan returned from his mission in England in August 2018.  He talked of his challenges and lessons learned during his mission with the Editor.

Elder Chong

1. How would you summarize your mission in England?

The best two years of my life.   I know it sounds so cliché, but I really wouldn't give it up for anything else in the world.

2. How have you changed because of your mission?

My testimony of the Saviour and His restored gospel is definitely stronger than what it used to be.  At the same time, I've learned a lot about myself. I believe my perspective of life has changed and my priorities along with it.

3. What challenges did you face during your mission?

Talking to strangers was the hardest thing for me early in the mission.  

It also took me a while to get used to using an iPad that was issued to me.  By the end of the mission, I really couldn't live without it.  It really helped me become an effective and efficient missionary.

There were constant changes.   About three months into my mission, we were given an iPad to replace the hand-written daily planner.   In January 2017 came the new missionary schedule and key indicators.  When I finally got used to the area book planner app, (which replaced the hardcopy daily planner) a new area book planner app was rolled out.   It was completely different, and toward the end of my mission, we received smartphones.

I also moved around quite a bit. I served in eight areas and had 16 companionships.

There were two challenges for me toward the end of the mission.   I thought I knew everything there was to know about being a missionary but I was wrong.  There was also something new to learn.

The second challenge was finding the answer to the question, 'Everything I did throughout my mission, was that enough?'  Heavenly Father was really kind and helped me to realise that it was enough indeed in his own very special way.

  1. What was the most enjoyable part of your mission?

I enjoyed witnessing the process of conversion of new members.   It gave me a special feeling of joy and hope when I saw how they changed for the better as they gained a testimony of the restored gospel.

  1. What were some of the highlights of your mission?

One of the highlights was serving in London.   It was the last area where I was a junior companion and I had really learned a great deal.   I had an incredible companion and we worked really well together.

Other highlights of my mission included attending special meetings with Elder Jeffery R Holland and President M Russell Nelson when they visited London.  It was also special because I was asked to put a choir for the meeting - a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  1. What lessons did you take away from your mission?

I learned the power of small and simple things.  I discover regular church attendance, daily prayers and scripture study make a world of difference as to one's faith and testimony.

I also learned the importance of having the humility to pray and the faith to act on the answers received.   It is important to involve Heavenly Father in the things I do and be obedient in following His will.   It is a hard decision to make when I discover my will is not the same as His, but I've since learned that everything works out whenever I put the Lord first.

  1. What were the 'most useful preparations' you discovered during your mission?

Because I learned cooking and doing housework before my mission, adjusting to missionary life was fairly easy for me.   When you come on the mission knowing how to cook and able to keep your flat clean, your companions and other missionaries will love you for that, and I speak from experience.

I also found that being able to play church hymns on the piano was an extremely useful thing to have.  There were always opportunities to serve by playing the piano.

  1. What would you say to members who are preparing to go on their missions?

Looking back, I would say attending Seminary and Institute is crucial to spiritual preparation. Knowing your scriptures makes a world of difference. Two persons can bear testimony on the same thing, but the one who knows how to teach using the word of God found in the scriptures delivers the lesson with power.

My bishop advised me to contribute to my own mission. He told me that I would feel differently if I paid for myself compared to someone else paying for my mission. I am glad I took his advice.  Yes, paying for my own mission made me feel like a personal sacrifice to serve the Lord.

  1. Concluding remarks

To all those preparing to serve a mission, I just want to say this, 'Do all you can to prepare to serve a mission.  I know each person's circumstance is different but if the Lord requires something of you, He will make it possible to fulfil that requirement. It may require some sacrifices on your part. From my experience, the sacrifices I made to put the Lord first were worth it.'

Elder Chong 2