Several years ago I had the opportunity to serve two years as a full-time LDS (Mormon) missionary in Sydney Australia, speaking Mandarin Chinese. It was the most amazing experience of my life.
During that time I developed a great love and appreciation for the Chinese people and their language., and I’ve always wished I could somehow go to China and teach the gospel. Unfortunately, at this time, missionaries are not permitted into mainland China. They can go to Hong Kong, but that’s it.
Then over the last two weeks two important things happened. The first, was that I decided to do a blog post about my inspiring friend Lin Hao (who we saw in the opening ceremony of the Olympics, leading the Chinese team – read his story here). Shortly thereafter, my friend Linda (his godmother), and Lin Hao himself somehow found my blog, and offered their own comments. I was, first and foremost, humbled that they’d even bother stopping buy, and secondly, amazed at the ability for a single blog post to reach all the way across the world, to readers all the way in the heart of mainland China.
I realized that the dream I’ve had teaching the gospel to the Chinese people in mainland China was within my grasp. Not in the future, but today, right now.
But there is a problem. While there are many in China that do speak English, I really would need to do posts in Chinese. But because my mission was in Australia, while I learned to speak relatively well, I wasn’t fully immersed in Chinese writing, and never learned how to read and write (there are over 10,000 characters to memorize just to read the paper).
But watching Michael Phelps this last week, and doing my posts about his example of setting and achieving goals, made me realize that if it is within my grasp, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long, I should simply do it. I should make the effort to learn to write Chinese, so that I can make my dream come true and begin teaching the gospel in China.
As I mentioned in my post here about the COP model, I have the competency (need more though), I have the passion, and there’s definitely a demand. As I covered in my post here, Christianity is now exploding in China, so at such a critical time in the country’s history, as the government is just beginning to open up more and more to this potential, why should I sit on the sidelines and watch it all happen?
What’s more, teaching the gospel to those who have not grown up in Christianity, means that their minds are not held hostage by the comforts and confinements of tradition, and they don’t reject concepts and teachings just because they’re new. To them, it’s all new, so they judge principles and doctrine on their own individual merit and worth.
In short, now is the time to teach the beautiful doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to those in mainland china, in their native tongue, through the internet.
As such, and by way of holding myself accountable, I’ve decided to set the goal that by February of next year I’m going to start the Chinese arm of this blog. That gives me 6 months to brush up on communicating and thinking in Chinese, and to figure out how to read and write. I’ll need all the assistance from the Lord that I can get, for my brain is getting a bit decrepit in my old age. But I’ll put my faith and trust in him, convinced that as I throw myself at the work of the Lord, he’ll magnify my effort, sanctify my work, and make it all possible.
“If ye have desires to serve god, ye are called to the work” (D&C 4:3), and “…the tender mercies of the lord are unto all those whom he hath chosen…” (1 Nephi 1:20). For the work of God shall roll forth, as a stone cut without hands, until it fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:31-45, D&C 65:2).
In answer to my own question – what role shall you play? I’ll be a missionary.