Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Finding Less Actives, Family

May 8, 2013
Still working hard out here in Chai Wan. We went to the Temple this week, so sorry for the delay, Mom. Thanks for the package by the way, I got it like 3 weeks ago. My bad! I love getting mail so much.
We've been busy with street finding, frequent meetings with Ward Leaders, and we've been asked by both President Hawks and the Hong Kong Island Stake Presidency to put an increased focus on working with less-active members. I've always found it kindof burdensome to go out looking for them because I always feel like we come home empty handed, but of course the triumphant discourses that came from President Hawks recentered my focus. Truly those who have already made covenants with the Lord are so precious, and Hong Kong has a ridiculously high number of them. I'm ashamed to even write the number. Just take the 3600 fully active members and multiply that at least 4, and then you'll have a rough guess of how many less-active members there are in Hong Kong whose records are either too outdated or have been lost. Not to mention the other ones we know about.
I called up a less active that I found in the Area Book who has visited with missionaries off and on since 1999, when she was first baptized. She is now a young mother with a 5 year old son. She happens to not have a job currently, which is music to the ears of a missionary in Hong Kong because people are so busy here it's a battle just to reschedule a street contact even if they are interested, and so I scheduled her for the next day. Looking back on her record I just saw 5 month to 1 year periods in between meeting with missionaries, with every companionship writing that they had reviewed the Restoration with her, and then she just drops off again for a while. I thought a lot about what we should share and had a feeling we should read the Family Proclamation with her. Her response was, "I'm not doing any of that." It shocked me when she said she no longer loved her husband, that he wastes all their money in gambling and that she had about given up on the prospect of him changing. She felt that she was a terrible mother, but that she wanted all the blessings stated in the proclamation. She said she didn't know how to start. It seemed in that moment to me that what I have and still oftentimes take for granted was so apparent and obvious: "Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activites," (Family Proclamation to the World). Developing our faith in Jesus Christ is the first step to lasting peace and happiness, and is the anchor that has holds together any righteous family. It has held together my family -- even in times I've seen opinions change and disagreements come up in my own family, it is faith in Jesus Christ that has rescued relationships from going sour, misunderstandings from becoming life-long contentions, and misfortunate circumstances from initiating senseless, selfish feuds.
Every spiritual and uplifting experience that I've had on my mission always has me turn back to gratitude for all that I've been given, and I can think of no gift greater than my family. It is our responsibility to keep our families in our hearts and to hold steadfast to the faith that brought them together and binds them both here and in eternity. One thing that I see more than anything in this nation are a people that try to maintain their ancient and culturally-deep duty to their families, yet become more steadily unhappy with their lives because they waste each day cooped up in an office until midnight and fail to fulfil even the simplest family obligation to play with their children. Happiness is not in money, but neither is it in tiringly trying to pursue yourself and some self-inspired definition of spirituality. I testify that true, lasting, eternal joy is found by having faith in Jesus Christ.
Elder Hazen

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