Sunday, August 9, 2015

This week has been awesome!! From zone conference to summer missionary! We've been seeing some huge miracles!!   We have been blessed especially in finding new investigators this week! On Sunday we met a guy named A ho. He has Buddhist background and said he is looking for answers. After talking with him for a short time he was very willing to meet with us again. One thing I feel is a good strength of our companionship is our finding. We both have been very focused on finding and working hard in order to find investigators, even with the loss of time due to Zone preparation. 

It was amazing to have Elder Gong of the 70 come for mission tour! The Wednesday devotional was a powerful reminder of the sacredness of the Sabbath and all that that includes.  Saturday, even better!  Not only was it awesome returning to an area I had previously served, but the messages were definitely inspired! I really like the focus of most of these types of conferences on the message of the Restoration. That is one thing that seems to get emphasized again and again. I also had the great opportunity of sitting next to President Gong at lunch! I was maybe a little intimidated at first, but it was fun and inspiring talking with him about his calling and other aspects of the work!

When we first got the call we were going to have summer missionaries, we thought there would be two. To be honest I was a little sad, because that meant I wouldn't get to be with Elder Gillis my last couple weeks. However, then things switched for the best!! We now will only have one summer missionary, so that way we get the best of both worlds. On top of that, our summer missionary, brother Yihp, is a recent convert in Tuen Mun  so I already know him really well!! Such a huge blessing! I honestly couldn't think of a better way to help finish strong!! I love the gospel!! 

‘Til next week,
 Elder Zach Cederlof

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mission Leadership Counsel was awesome! I really like how we discussed different things and ideas that were going down in different zones. It helped us prepare for our Zone training even further. Speaking of Zone training. We actually had some really cool experiences with that. The week of zone training we decided to scrap one part of the training. Even though we already had that part all the planned out, it just didn't feel right. So we decided we needed to start from scratch on that part. Through prayer and discussion, we put together a new plan. It was perfect! Zone training started off really well, and then some very sarcastic remarks were being made. When we got up again after the spiritual thought, we addressed the issue. We also had some other zone members share as well. It turned out awesome. A little "fire" in the beginning, but it led all of us to rethink and evaluate ourselves. After that we moved on into talking about ways to improve our teaching and then ourselves. Zone training went by very well. Through reports, we have found out that all of the zone members would agree as well! The weirdest part for me was when at the end we had time for "words of wisdom." Words of wisdom is where all the missionaries that are leaving at the end of that transfer get a couple minutes to share some things they have learned on their mission. Some back story, back in Tuen Mun, me and Sister Shoemaker (now Sister training leader) were in the same district. One district meeting I was assigned to give a spiritual thought and had originally picked the topic of gratitude. However, after thinking more about it, I felt that I should change it to a theme of attitude and perspective. So I changed it and shared about that topic off of the talk "Free Forever to Act for Themselves." However, at the end of my sharing I didn't really see a big need as to why I was supposed to change the subject to that one. 8 or so months later in Zone training meeting (just last week) Sister Shoemaker said in her "words of wisdom" that that spiritual thought had really helped her change her perspective about missionary work!  I've learned through this experience, that 1. Just trust in the Spirit and 2. We don't know how many people we help.  It was a cool thing I learned that I never would have expected to learn at Zone Training.  A fun thing we had to help the members of the zone remember what we all need to do this month is called a "mahfaahn cup" we put a little flag with a picture from the liahona on top of a cup. On the cup we have a list of the specific things we all need to do. Everyone puts the cup on their desks and it is there as a reminder to help us remember to do the things we need to do. 

It is interesting how much perspective has changed over the mission. As each week passes on, I am reminded of God's love for me, and the people of Hong Kong. It really is a special place!  

 Love Elder Zach Cederlof


Sunday, July 26, 2015

The weeks are just going faster and faster!  We were able to see some more cool miracles this week!  This past week we haven't had as much finding time, due to preparing for zone training. We were a little bit worried about not finding new investigators. However, we believed that if we used our faith, the Lord would compensate for the loss of time. On Sunday we had some finding and the Lord led us to 2 new investigators in a short amount of time!! Super awesome!! It is just another sign to me that the Lord really is in control of all things. This is His work, not mine. As long as I strive to do it how way, I cannot fail!

Nick and Eric are still progressing really well! It has been good. The main thing for both of them is finding time to meet. Nick has been going up to mainland a bunch for work and Eric has been busy with work and family things. However they were both able to come to church on Sunday! They even showed up 20 minutes early! Nick was helping us welcome members and the Stake President came and wasn't sure if he was a member or not because he acted so much like a member!! It was super awesome!! 

Love Elder Zach Cederlof

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The weeks just go by faster and faster!! I'm super excited for temple day today!! an awesome opportunity to be taught in the House of the Lord!! Super grateful that we in Hong Kong have that special opportunity to go once a move!!  As for the past week, some more cool stories and miracles! Starting off with Eric, he is continuing to progress really well!! He has a lot of desire and really enjoys listening and reading the modern day Prophet talks. It is really cool to be able to see someone with little to no religious background develop faith!  
This past week we also had the opportunity to go on exchanges. Mandarin Elder Sy came with me, over in Sheung Shui! It was super cool to be with him! Even though he spoke mandarin, I spoke Cantonese it just made for a great combination! no matter who we ran into, we could share with them!! Elder Sy is a great elder! He is fairly new, I think he has been out for approximately 5 months in the field. His desire to serve and push himself is inspiring! He is really good at going out of his comfort zone! That night we taught Nick, Eric's younger brother. The previous lesson we had shared with him we invited him to read Alma 32. That actually wasn't the original invitation we had planned, but something that we felt we needed to invite him to do. This last lesson proved that it was in fact from the Spirit. He was very touched by that chapter, he had it twice in just 3 or 4 days! Before that lesson, Nick's resolve wasn't as strong. He was placing other things as priority over God. However, after reading chapter 32, he said that it was a good reminder of what he needed to do. the follow up led to other questions which we directed back to reading  in chapter 32 which continued to answer most of his questions. By the end the lesson, he asked us how he could keep that "seed" of faith growing, not dormant.  We left him with another couple chapters to read. Ether 12 and 2nd Nephi 31! Nick is doing awesome right now! It has been such a blessing to be working with him!!
Meeting with A-hou we wanted to help keep the lesson more focused, so we brought another member to the lesson, our ward mission leader! it turned out awesome! Our ward mission leader is actually a recent convert of just about a year! he will be going to the temple this next month and he has had some amazing experiences that made it so that he could connect really well with A-hou. Such an awesome blessing!! The work is going forward! I'm so grateful for the time I have here in Tolo Harbour!
Til next week,
Love, Elder Cederlof

Sunday, July 12, 2015

This past week, like every week before, has been awesome! We saw a lot of cool miracles while we were out on the Lord's Errand.  Unfortunately, the weeks just keep going by faster and faster. To be honest, it's kinda scary how fast the weeks are going by.  Here are a few of the cool things I saw this week.

The first one I will share about is that on Tuesday we went to Sha Tin district's meeting. (District Leader-Elder Klein) It was super awesome to be there and see how his style is. He is a good District Leader. Whenever he has questions he doesn't hesitate to call. Later that night, we had a lesson with a currently less active member. His name is Brother Chan. His main concern has to do with the Word of Wisdom. We shared a lesson and our new ward mission leader, Brother Ng, helped out a ton! Brother Ng, is a convert himself of 1 year and he has such a strong testimony. His background also provides him with the perfect set-up for fellow-shipping.

The next one has to do with a recent convert's friend named A-hou. He is 23, longish, pink hair, married, and has 2 daughters with another on the way. At first glance you might say he was a punk. But I believe deep down his heart is looking for the gospel. We have been able to meet with him a couple times now and help him understand more about the gospel. I'm excited to see the change the gospel brings into his life. 

 The last one I wanted to share is about someone we met just yesterday. Her name is Tracy. She is half black, half Chinese! We were walking through the park and saw her sitting down, with her skateboard. When we walked by we said hi and started talking with her. She originally was Christian but for awhile hasn't been to church. We talked with her about Christ and she does have the desire to come closer unto Him; she said she feels as though she has drifted away. We invited her to a church tour and she said she'll even bring some more friends to come, as well as attend church next week! Such a huge blessing! It really is true, sometimes, just looking at people you can't tell who is prepared and who isn't, but God knows. That is why it is so important that we are in tune with the spirits "channel."
The zone right now is doing well! We are excited and grateful to be here to help Tolo Harbour reach its full potential. Some of the challenges throughout the zone are finding. We are going to keep emphasizing 'faithen your finding' activity to help people maintain a positive attitude with a lot of energy! One thing I've noticed that I am very grateful for is I feel that the zone really trusts us. I feel that we, as a zone are becoming more united.
 Every phase of the mission is awesome! I’ve been blessed so much! Love you all!
 ‘Til next week,
 Love, Elder Cederlof

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

This past week was super awesome!! We were able to see a bunch of miracles! Some of our investigators came back from mainland so we were able to meet! Super awesome! One of them was Eric.  We have actually been teaching him for a little bit before he went to mainland. Now he has a baptismal date and committed to go and talk to his wife about getting baptized as well! We are super excited to be able to work with him! We have also been able to, through a recent convert; meet a couple of new investigators that also came to church! Apart from them, we also had another family come to church which we taught afterwards! Miracle after miracle!! After coming back from MLC on Wednesday we talked with a lady from England on the MTR. She was actually going back to England not much later but we were able to give her a pamphlet! Super cool! Along with her we also met a Philipino lady that said her dad was a bishop but she herself wasn't a member. As we put in our best effort, the Lord will definitely bless us, in His own timing!

 Love, Elder Cederlof

Monday, June 22, 2015

Moves this week! My new companion is Elder Gillis! It's been super good being companions with Elder Gillis. We've actually crossed paths a little bit before so we at least knew who each other was before the switch. He is a super solid Elder and is a great Zone Leader. I'm super excited for this opportunity to be able to learn from him and to work together in helping the Tolo Harbour zone!

This past week we have had most of our investigators leave to travel. A couple went up to mainland and one to Japan so it was a great way to start the move. We had a couple days of almost all finding. I feel like that is a really effective way to start off the companionship. We got to start out on the right foot, in the sun and learn how each other finds and teaches. Before one investigator went over to Japan we got to meet with him and followed up with him on the plan of salvation!! What an awesome lesson! He remembered so much and it seemed to just really click with him! We invited him to take his Book of Mormon on his trip and continue to read it everyday. We get along really well and Elder Gillis is a really humble open person. We also met with the Sister Training Leaders to talk about the overall situation with the zone and Elder Gillis and Sister Jackson had some really good ideas! This next Zone training we are thinking of sharing and discussing a lot about accountability, acceptance of responsibility, and attitude. 
I also want to thank you for your "faithen your finding" paper. Through numbers we have found that a lot of companionships are struggling with maintaining faith in their finding and so we are going to be re-inviting everyone to continue that activity.
I am grateful to be a representative of our Savior, Jesus Christ and serving him in Sheung Shui!
'Til next week,
Love, Elder Cederlof 

Monday, June 15, 2015

I went with Elder Liew in MOS. It was a super good exchange. Elder Liew is a super solid missionary. He is doing a fantastic job as District Leader. He is super responsive to counsel and has so much energy!!  We taught an investigator they have named a-wing. it was a super good lesson on the 2nd half of the Plan of Salvation. She asked some really good questions such as why is it in and only through Jesus Christ's atonement/death, why not just anyone else's death. Those are the types of questions I love to hear! It lead to a good discussion on his life and importance thereof.  
Eric also has been improving quite a bit! Just these last 2 or so weeks his desire has grown a ton. He is now reading everyday and praying and comes to church. His family is having some issues which has led him to have such a strong desire. It was awesome! This past week we met him at a area near their home. Originally we scheduled to meet with Eric, but shortly after he came, his wife came over as well. We focused most of our message on families. Talking about how they can strengthen theirs. Through things like family prayer and scripture study they will be able to have a stronger family! They were both willing to start reading and praying together. I also had a specific prompting as we invited them to also invite them to not just pray WITH each other, but to pray FOR each other. This week Eric goes up to Mongolia for a couple weeks so we will be unable to meet with him. 
I love having this opportunity to work with the entire zone. One thing I am especially grateful for is the language pass-offs. It is a great opportunity to help each individual missionary in the zone improve their language, teaching skills, and more! The members of this zone are awesome!!  I'm excited to see who the new members will be later this week!!
'Til next week,
Love, Elder Zach Cederlof


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

As you may know, Nick went up to mainland the last couple weeks and returned just this past week. Before he went to mainland we committed him to keep the word of wisdom. Unfortunately, he was not able to keep that committment while in China. Fortunately, it was a good learning experience to show why we need to read the scriptures everyday; to maintain the strength to resist temptation! It has been a little bit of a step back but the most important thing is to learn from the experience.
Now that we have the Liahona I have been reading and re-reading those talks! One that has stuck out to me ever since first hearing it is the one about learning to listen to the music. It's such a simple example of a powerful principle. No matter what phase we are in life are we dancing only to dance? Does it feel awkward or weird to us, but we continue due to outside pressures? Do we really hear the music?  In the talk he asks if we have ever seen someone in another car dancing to music and singing out loud? Doesn't it look strange? Maybe.  Flipping the picture, have we ever been in a car singing and dancing, not caring what the outside world thinks? Maybe not all of us, but I sure have! Am I living the Gospel in such a way that no matter what people on the "outside" think, I continue joyfully singing and dancing? I love this talk! It is a great reminder to look at the reason behind the things we do and to look at the sincerity of it as well!

Love, Elder Zach Cederlof

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

While finding out in the rain last week we had some cool experiences! We decided to go knock doors because not many people were out on the street. However, even knocking on doors, we weren't seeing much success. While we were walking out of a tsuen we had just finished in, we ran into a man on the street and started talking with him! He went to school over in the UK so he mostly used English. At first, he didn't seem to have much interest but that doesn't stop us! We shared some points on the restoration and he felt something in his heart and admitted he actually was starting to have some interest! Power of the Restoration!!  Another example.  A couple days prior to the experience mentioned above, we were walking and saw a father pushing a stroller with a little kid. We went over and talked to him.  Again, like the other man, he didn't have much interest and he said he needed to go. I had the distinct feeling to share Joseph Smith's own words.  In the short time we had, the spirit was felt and we were then able to exchange numbers. Last example.  Last night we met with a man named A Wah. He has no background whatsoever. Sharing the Restoration with him seemed to spark something within. He didn't mention anything particular but I could see it in his eyes.  There is definitely a reason that Preach my Gospel teaches to tie things back to the Restoration!
'Til next week!
 Love, Elder Cederlof

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

We definitely had some cool experiences this past week. Particularly on the day of Zone Conference. As you know, a little bit of a surprise that morning. (news of grandma Pearson passing) But through that experience I have come to learn and appreciate more about the Plan of Salvation. That has kind of seemed to be the theme of my mission. Although I've had some hard times, I am definitely grateful for the opportunity to strengthen my testimony about the Plan of Salvation.

I really enjoyed our Zone Training meeting. From the focus on improving our teaching skills to President and Sister Hawks testimonies of the importance and sacredness of the family. I'm thankful they, along with my parents, are such powerful examples of what an eternal family should be like. This is something I will always remember. I pray that through the things I learn here and continue to learn after my mission I will be able to fulfill that sacred duty.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to go to the temple today. My mom had a wonderful temple experience after my grandmother passed away.  I feel that today at the temple I will be able to find even more peace and strengthen my testimony even more.
Just like an example President Hawks shared at the beginning of my mission, when he was young, he learned to enjoy "taking your chainsaw to the mountains and working hard". I have definitely felt that type of change in myself!! I have learned to love the work!!  It really is the best 2 years!!!
Just as Thomas S. Monson talks about in "On the Lord's Errand," I want the Lord to know that when He has an errand, Elder Cederlof will be there!
'Til next week,
 Love, Elder Zach Cederlof

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

Dear Mom -
Most of the stuff I already told you on the phone, but the coolest thing we are seeing now is that even though Elder Smith and I aren't having has much finding time, we are seeing huge miracles on the street everytime we go out! So awesome! Through this I have defniitely learned the valuable lesson that as we put the Lord first, he will fulfill the rest!! So always put the Lord first!! Things really couldn't be better right now. I love the ward, I love the area, I love my companion! It definitely is a great time to be a missionary!
I love you mom! Happy Mother's Day!
Love, Elder Zach Cederlof

Me talking to you on Mother's Day

The view looking out our window


Last move.  Me, Elder Tseng and the Sheung Shui Sisters

The Six Elders in our old apartment

Elder Klein (to my right) is from England and is one of my best friends out here




Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This past week was crazy! A lot of big changes!! When I first heard that Elder Smith and I were going to be companions I was pretty surprised! One thing that I have mentioned before that I feel is kind of like the "theme" of my mission, is the reality of a loving Heavenly Father and His Plan of Salvation for me. Because Elder Smith and I lived together at the beginning of our missions, we have already gotten to know each other.  We can go to work immediately! We can go straight to the "performing" level, (referring back to the stages of a companionship) I am very grateful for the opportunity I have with Elder Smith and the Lord to strengthen Sheung Shui! It is a great and exciting opportunity to push forward the work! There definitely will be challenges (in the first 4 days we already experienced a lot of "firsts") As we trust in Heavenly Father's plan for all of us, there will be no room for worries or doubt. He will take care of us! Very grateful for that promise!

Tolo Harbor is an amazing place! Through this week's zone training we are hoping to help everyone in our zone develop more faith. Then, through combining that faith with learning how to improve finding, bring more people unto Christ. We all need to be constantly improving our methods and developing more faith. Faith is definitely the most critical part. I feel that through strong faith we will be able to improve. Not just in the ways that we personally want to improve, but in the way God wants us to improve. An interesting thought I have had is that it is true that we can all change. A reason why the Gospel is so critical is because it teaches and shows us become what God wants us to become. Like the last quote on "drawing upon the powers of heaven" paper talks about. God's plan for us is a lot bigger and better than our plans for ourselves. But am I humble enough to accept that? That has been a good pondering question for me which has lead to a stronger testimony of the great Plan of Salvation! I love the work! I love being here in Tolo Harbour. This is where the Lord has need of me!

Til next week!
Love, Elder Cederlof

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Like always, the weeks keep going by faster and faster! This past week I had some super cool and enlightening experiences.

This past week we have started working with another part member family! The Yuh family. The dad is a member, the mom is not. They also have a baby on the way! When we met with them we got to know Sister Yuh's background. She in fact has met with the missionaries before but stopped meeting with them because she didn't have enough time. We have faith that now is the proper time for her and her husband to truly become one! Our message and invitation was simple, we invited them to start praying together as a family. An invitation that took me back down "memory lane"! I love being able to share that with them because I know how important doing those things as a family is. I've been super blessed to have parents that have helped me learn and understand the reasons and power behind family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening. So, in short, it's a treat to be able to share those experiences with families!

Another super cool experience came as we crossed paths with an "old friend." It was actually the first time I've ever met this person, but a couple months ago Elder Tseng and Elder Anderson ran into him. He is pretty against the way the Lord runs his missionary program. He was talking about how we need to spend thousands of dollars to get the nicest of everything, and we needed to be current in the world news and stuff going on. He talked a lot about how if we really want to get as many people as possible, we've got to fit in with the world. From a surface level perspective, his arguments might seem pretty good. Fortunately, with the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can see things at a much deeper level. God has a purpose in all of His things. There is a reason God called a young, uneducated, 14 year old boy to restore His church. There is a reason the Lord calls 18 and 19 year olds to serve missions, not only that, but sometimes not even in their native tongue. There is a reason for all of these things. We shared about the Restoration but he wasn't too interested and we parted ways. Although we weren't able to reschedule or even get his phone number, we showed him how much the Lord truly does love His children; along with that, my testimony was strengthened quite a bit as a result.

Along with that experience came a more clear understanding of the difference the gift of the Holy Ghost brings. Having received that gift when I was 8, I felt that maybe I was overlooking some of the blessings that that brings. I was pondering about it for quite some time when we had the above experience. Later in my studies, after putting the pieces together, I learned for myself some of the blessings of the Holy Ghost that I had overlooked before. The Holy Ghost is there to guide us. Not only will he bring things to our memory, he will expound our memory. Not only will He help us understand concepts, He will teach us so clearly that we can't misunderstand. (borrowing a phrase from Preach my Gospel) To say the least, I'm very grateful for this past week's experiences!
Til next week!
Love, Elder Zach Cederlof

Monday, April 20, 2015

Nick is still continuing to do super awesome! He is reading a lot and has already finished 1 Nephi. We've talked about baptism before with him but we prepared that lesson on the atonement and then shared about baptism ( the way to use that power)  He definitely understands the need to be baptized but when we tried to set a date he said it was too fast and that he wanted to go home and ponder/pray about it.

Eric and Kawa were out of town this past week and so we weren't able to meet with them but they scheduled for church. Unfortunately Sunday morning they had some things come up and messaged and said they couldn't come. But on the bright side we have them scheduled for this upcoming week! 
One thing we have really been working on is organization of things we do here and working more with part member families. We are now working with 3 part member families and I know we will see some great success there. Not only bring people to Christ but bring their entire family, a strengthening unit. 
Wai Ki got baptized yesterday!! Super awesome! It was such a great day and opportunity, especially for her family. Her mom shared a spiritual thought at the service and it was awesome!! She talked about the big changes in their family and in all of their lives! I love being able to see the change that the gospel brings not only in my own life but in the lives of the investigators and members!
Love, Elder Zach Cederlof

Monday, April 13, 2015

General Conference was awesome!! So many different things learned. I really liked the big focus on families especially on the Saturday sessions! Families are what we are here for! They play such a critical role in God's Plan of Salvation for each and every one of us. Giving family priority is so important! Those talks has made me ponder more about things I can either continue to do, or start doing to more better prepare myself for that sacred role.  I also really enjoyed the talks that were on "truly being converted." It made me ask myself some good thought provoking questions such as the reason behind things. Are we doing what we are doing just because it is 'expected' of us? What is the real motive behind the work we do? Is it simply so people "think" we are good, trying our best? I thought back to the example in the scriptures which teaches that if a man gives a gift grudgingly, it is as if he hasn't given it at all. In missionary work, if I'm not fully committed, giving my all, it comes down to the same principle. Although as the "unprofitable servant" (as the scriptures teach) that I am, I hope that through the goals I have set from General Conference I will be able to show the Lord more about how much I truly care for this work! I love the opportunity God has given me to listen to his Living Prophets on the earth! Recently my testimony and love for Joseph Smith has grown a lot. I have been trying to learn more about his life and what he went through, definitely a powerful example and a strong building block in my own testimony.

I had the opportunity to hold my first baptismal interview. I interviewed Sheung Shui sister's investigator. What an awesome opportunity to sit down and discuss the covenant of baptism. It was a special moment as we discussed about the meaning of taking upon ourselves Christ's name and discussing the interview questions. It was an experience I won't forget!

I am so grateful to be District Leader over here! All the members of the District are such strong examples. I have learned a lot from this experience. One of the things that has been emphasized to me over and over is that this really is God's work. He doesn't require the best Cantonese, or the teaching skills or anything. He just requires the best that we can give. I'm grateful for this learning opportunity!

 'Til Next week,
 Love, Elder Cederlof