Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas lights are shinning, holiday shopping is starting, although there is no snow to celebrate, Christmastime in Hong Kong is alive and exciting. The influence of Jesus Christ is all around, but where is it within us?
Being a missionary, away from home for the first time, preaching about the "Good News" of Jesus Christ has been a very personal experience for me. Although I am away from almost everything familiar, I do not have regret or remorse for the things I have left behind. The one thing I have taken with me, my testimony of the death and birth of Jesus Christ, has truly brought me the spirit of Christmas.

At 12:30 PM today, my companion, Elder McCleary and I arrived in Kowloon Tong for the start of choir practice in preparation to sing for the holiday seasons. A random phone call was taken in the Mission Office asking for the Ma On Shan missionaries. Sister Kesler, not knowing any Chinese passed the phone to me. A frantic, worried lady on the other line expressed some concerns and frantically urged the "Missionaries of Ma On Shan" to help her immediately. Not knowing the situation, thinking for the worst, we reluctantly, but faithfully left Kowloon Tong back to Ma On Shan to meet with her. An hour later we were able to sit with her inside the chapel and help her with her problems. She talked, and talked, and talked some more. For an hour and forty five minutes she continued to talk, leaving us little room to respond to her questions and her needs. She expressed great concern about her situation, and felt as though we could be of service. We patiently endured. For me especially, it was difficult- for you all know I love to talk. As cheerfully and as much compassion two twenty year old boys could give, we turned to Jesus Christ and His gospel for solutions. We expressed how little we understand regarding education, different cultures, and even about Cantonese, but we knew that Jesus Christ could help her. In the end, she being in a serious financial situation, failed to recognize our purpose as missionaries and was looking for money.

I contemplated this experience, and knew that Jesus Christ and his Atonement satisfied all pain and sorrows. I knew His gospel could change her life. It made me a little frustrated and very sad that I knew the way and the answer to her problems, yet she would not receive. I then thought of The greatest and first commandment- Love God with all thy heart, and love thy neighbor as Christ would. I thought of Elder Holland's talk October 2012 Sunday morning session's General Conference- "The First Commandment." 
I thought of Christ's atonement, and His ability to know all solutions. I thought of Jesus Christ's service to the world. "And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men." 1 Nephi 19: 9. I can only imagine Jesus Christ teaching the people the way to salvation, while they disregard his counsel, while they laugh, and scorn, and mock, and spit upon His teachings. I realized in that hour and forty five minutes with this lady, that Jesus Christ would have suffered it. He would love her until the ends of the earth and not let go. Jesus is the Christ, He will not let go of any of you reading this message. He understands you, He will show you the way, and He loves you. The completion of the Atonement did not end His ministry, but started it. We can look to Him for hope, for peace, for guidance. Even if you before have shrunk in the call to bear His name, you CAN come back. His arms are open, His wounds there, testifying that He died for you, SO you can come to know Him as your personal Savior, EVEN the Savior or the World. Do not be as the Pharasies and deny his words. Learn of Him, Learn to Love Him. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son," that we may learn of His ways and deny them not. 
This Christmastime, I invite all to hear of Him who died for your sake, hear of His death and His resurrection and the Restored Gospel that He has brought back for us in these Latter-Days. Hear of His goodness and mercy toward the Children of Men. I testify that Jesus Christ lives, and has Restored once that was ancient, again on the Earth I testify in His sacred name, the Only Begotten born of Bethlehem, even Jesus Christ, Amen.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dear Family and Readers,
This week has been full of miracles and surprises. So many of you know that the letters that are written are posted on a blog my mother has created for me while I have been on my mission. Thank you as well for the patience you have with me as I scramble in the short time I have to think of something that has been impactful and meaningful to me this week.
Unfortunately I have only a few minutes to write, but I want to express my gratiude to our Heavenly Father for the miracles He places in our lives everyday. I want to thank Him for those people He places in our paths to answer our prayers. 
A recent email from my mother expressed the prayers answered from a Sister who lives in Virginia, who read my blog and was able to have an answer to her prayer. I am grateful that I have been able to be an instrument in the hands of God to help others through what little knowlegde I know. Everyday on my mission I have been blessed countless times where people have been a direct answer to prayer. 
I want to share one experience, not of my own, but that was recently shared in the past General Conference of October 2012 called An Unspeakable Gift from God. It talks about how President Monson was able to be an instrument in Heavenly Father's hands. It reads, 
"After President Monson had visited with Sister Watson and given her a priesthood blessing, he shook her hand, said good-bye, and prepared to leave. Then a simple but amazing thing happened. I quote now from President Monson’s own recollection of this experience:

“I could not leave her side. It was as though an unseen hand [was] resting on my shoulder, and I felt within my soul that I was hearing these words: ‘Go over to the next bed where the little lady covered her face when you came in.’ I did so. …

“I approached the bedside of the other patient, gently tapped her shoulder and carefully pulled back the sheet which had covered her face. Lo and behold! She, too, was a member of my ward. I had not known she was a patient in the hospital. Her name was Kathleen McKee. When her eyes met mine, she exclaimed through her tears, ‘Oh, Bishop, when you entered that door, I felt you had come to see me and bless me in response to my prayers. I was rejoicing inside to think that you would know I was here, but when you stopped at the other bed, my heart sank, and I knew that you had not come to see me.’
“I said to [Sister] McKee: ‘It does not matter that I didn’t know you were here. It is important, however, that our Heavenly Father knew and that you had prayed silently for a priesthood blessing. It was He who prompted me to intrude on your privacy."

I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers, and that wherever you are, whatever situation you are in, if you turn to God as expressed by the prophet Zenos in Alma 33 then you cannot fail. I know my testimony has been strengthen from a Sister who lives in Virginia, and although I am only one person in Hong Kong, God can touch my life from her experience and build my testimony. Prayer is a powerful, sacred opportunity to converse with the very being that Created our soul. We must give Him thanks daily, and ask for direction to better our lives and return with Him.
In the name of Jesus Christ,

Elder Liu

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I cannot believe I have already been out on a mission for 6 months. The time has flown by. This past week I really have drawn closer to my Savior. I really have learned so many things from being on a mission. Many things have contributed to the growth of a mission. President Hawks encouraged us to read a talk called "Quick to Observe" by David A. Bednar. I suggest everyone to read it. I will briefly explain of the of the insight I have recieved. Dealing with spiritual gifts, one of great value is descernment. Not only to descern the bad from the good around us, but to descern the good and bad within an individual, the good  in others, and the ability to be prompt in heeding the spirit.
Although my thoughts are scattered, and I remember little of this past week, I remember reading a talk called "Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service" by Elder Robert D. Hales. IN this talk given at General Conference he said regarding Sacrament "I testify that the sacrament gives us an opportunity to come to ourselves and experience "a mighty change: of heart-- to remember who we are and what we most desire." I think of the covanents made in the temple, I think of ALL the marvelous blessings God has given us as long as we simply obey. I think of the opportunity to partake of the sacrament and experience a mighty change of heart, if we prepare. How can it be a powerful symbol? Elder Hales earlier stated, "For the sacrament to be a spiritually cleansing experience each week, we need to prepare ourselves before coming... We do this by deliberately leaving behing our daily work and recreation and letting go of worldly thoughts and concerns. As we do, we make room in our minds and hearts for the Holy Ghost." Think of Michael who later became Adam. Think of Saul who became Paul. The symbol of a name-- in essence is the reconstruction of one's very being! As we willingly and joyfully go to the alter and partake of the Sacrament, we symbolically change our essence. Our name may still be Matthew, Lawrence, or Stella, but our very soul is Jesus the Christ. The name of hope, charity, compassion, patience, endurance, obedience, humility, salvation and of service. What happiness can be found as we submit to the commandments of the Father.
As a living testimony I have literally and more importantly symbolically taken on a new name, the name of Jesus Christ, representing His church. I promise that when we covanent with God each week to bear his name in our hearts, we will be the people we want to be, we will be a standard to the world, and God will be pleased with us individually. We will "have an opportinity to come to ourselves and experience "a mighty change of heart" as promised by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ- Elder Hales. I have witnessed it time and time again, and I know this change can occur daily when we focus on our Savior and our covanents with Him. I have so much to learn, I have so many flaws. But I do have a patient, perfect Father who will teach me, you, and those who are willing to change. "
And it came to pass that he (Alma) said, unto them... as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another;s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of  God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life- Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, and keep his commandments, that he may pour our his Spirit more abundantly upon you? And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts." Mosiah 18:8-11
When we renew our covenant with God, do we rejoice? Do we clap for joy knowing that we have an opportunity to change?
I invite alll of you to ponder in your hearts the covenants that you have made and the desire of your hearts to know for yourself if you are true in your willingness to serve God.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Thursday, August 16, 2012

So I heard about Ebony, that must have been stressful taking her to the emergency room on vacation. I hope everything went alright. I will pray for her.  As for me I am doing well. So the work is going forth and it is all because of Heavenly Father. He truly inspired my companion and I to prepare this special time to help one soul come unto Christ through baptism. It was quite interesting, I don't know if Lawrence and Tim know, but they emailed me about having stronger relationships with members, and using them to do the work more frequently. President Hawks also talked about how we need to be better to our members, and sacrifice more. I also sought revelation with my companion about receiving revelation, and both my companion and I worked toward helping members more fully. We truly have seen the rewards and the blessings because of it. on August 26 we have a baptism. It was working through the members that this was even made possible. It is interseting how the Lord inspires men to do the work, and... the work goes forth. So you can tell Tim and Law that they were made instruments in God's hand in helping Causeway Bay catch fire the vision of missionary work. The faith and hope of the members here have seen to be refeshed. The spark of the spirit has been lit and the work goes forth. Unfortunately, Causeway Bay has not had a baptism for over a year, and the last 3 baptisms are now less active, this has probably hindered the motivation of the work.
I know God has blessed my companion and I, our area has been on of the lowest baptizing missions, and the ones that have been needing new member support. Now our area is one of the highest in the mission, I know it is because of attitude as well as accountibility. I know numbers don't mean anything, in fact I hope I do not sound prideful. When I first came into Causeway Bay, there was an attitude of hopelessness and an discouraged area. I did not know that, nor did it affect me when I did hear from other missionaries regarding it. I don't know when we change our attitudes to fit the attitude God wants us to have we will have success. The members of Causeway Bay are spiritual giants. They are the heros of Hong Kong. Faith changes with attitude. When we are responsible and accountable for our actions, not making any excuses on why we could have been better or start comparing ourselves and our success with others, there comes a spirit of success. We learn from our mistakes, we look to the past only to be learned from, we utilize the atonement frequently, and have a positive attitude. When Satan blows us down, we are quick to rise and face the new challenge with responsibility and a positive attitude. I hope we can all face our challenges with a positive attitude, never waivering in faith or finding excuses on why this or why that. When we are accountable to the Lord with a sincere desire to change, it will happen and the work goes forth. I challenge all of us to be positive in all aspects of life, seeking for the good in which God has given us,
Mosiah 4: 11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have recieved a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your soulds, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your won nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even un the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.4:12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowlegde of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowlegde of that which is just and true."
God promises that we shall "always rejoice" when we look in the goodness of God, that includes not envying, not coveting, being selfish, and making up excuses. So let us forget ourselves, and the work goes forth.
 Elder Liu

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sorry it has been so long since I last wrote you all. I have been extremely busy with the work in Causeway Bay. Two weeks ago there was a typhoon in Hong Kong, I remember staying indoors because eventually the storm turned into a typhoon Level 10. The following day I went out to do missionary work, and down one whole block there were planted trees spaced out on the concrete. Of all the ten trees, two of them were standing; the rest were uprooted and toppled. This had a large impact on me because the trees looked pretty strong, but, the roots were only about two feet deep into the soil. Unfortunately this reminded me of the people of Hong Kong and Jacob chapter 5. How in the Lord's vineyard some seeds were planted in rich ground and others in stony ground. It didn't really matter where the seeds were planted, even the ones planted in the richest part of the soil had corruption, but it is when the branches takes strength in themselves and not the roots that the tree whithers. If we do not exercise our faith, if we do not humble ourselves, as James said in Chapter 2 verse 26, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." We need the spirit for all things good, we are nothing without it. With the spirit we are also nothing, unless we have works with our faith. We cannot expect to survive the storms nonetheless the Level 10 Typhoons of Satan if we do not enrich our roots in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and "humble ourselves to the dust." Sometimes it is hard, but we must always look for ways to grow in the gospel. We cannot be those eight trees out of the ten to fall. We must endure, we must remember "whence our blessings come from." I know this is the only way to be happy, nothing else.

Elder Liu August 2, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dear Mom,
I am doing absolutley fantastic! Thank your for your inspired email. I really just want to take the time to thank you for the amazing parents both you and Dad have been for me. The spirit of revelation has truly directed my life and has confirmed everything you have shown me by example is true and I am grateful for your decision to be baptized especially. I am grateful for you to have listened to the spirit's promting to go to BYU Hawaii and move to Utah. I look out here in Hong Kong where the "soil of faith" is hard. Where Satan has a strong hold on the people. I do not know what I would have done if I grew up in an area like this. I feel strongly impressed that I truly have "stewardship" over these sheep as said in Preech my Gospel. I am grateful for teaching me hard work. I have learned much regarding patience, humility, and love for everyone around me. I know many things which I learned at home has sustained me here in the field. Knowing that this mission is the one you were baptized in, it makes this place THAT much more special. Hopefully I can find one person who can be just like you, enter the waters of baptism and completely change their life around through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Raise a strong, large, happy family, and be happy becuase they have the restored Gospel in their lives. Your story, our story is a living testimony that Jesus is the Christ, Heavenly Father loves and protects us with the promptings of the holy ghost. This is my testimony to all of Hong Kong. I have five investigators with baptizimal dates right now, it was a miracle that 7 of my investigators came to church the following day. I have been telling my investigators about our family and how they need to meet you all. They have a strong desire to know how truly the Gospel has changed your life. Perhaps if they do get an opportunity it will be at Church this Sunday. I have one in particular named Roddy. He is a law teacher at the University of Hong Kong who is a really good person. I wish he could enter into Christ's fold. I am grateful for your email, I feel your prayers continually. I went to the temple today, and there recieved peace and inspiration. I know this last half of the move is going to be life-changing for many people, including myslef.
Hope you have a safe trip, PS, I haven't told President Hawks that you are coming in town.
I am dropping off some gifts for the family, I think Tim will be picking it up at the mission home tomorrow at 10ish. Inside are family ties and scarfs. I think it would be really neat if we all wore the ties I got when I have my homecoming. There should be enough for each male member in our extended family.
Elder Liu