I joined the Church in Tainan, Taiwan, in October 1991. Two years later I moved to Taipei to work. Feeling a need to gain more knowledge of the gospel, I enrolled in institute. This decision led to an event that caught me by surprise.
During my second year in institute, we studied the Doctrine and Covenants, and I learned a lot about the temple. I gained a great desire to go to the temple. When I talked to my bishop about going, he suggested ways for me to prepare. In June 1995, I went for an interview with the stake president.
My stake president initially said I was too young to take on the sacred covenants of the temple. His words devastated me, for I had worked hard to prepare and I knew in my heart I was ready. So I pleaded with him to reconsider, explaining that my bishop had sent me to him. I asked if we could at least talk about the possibility. He said, “If you insist, we will talk.”
Near the end of the interview, he asked, “If the Lord asks you to go on a mission today, will you go?”
I replied, “I think so.”
I received my temple recommend and my endowment that same day. I also decided that I would accept the call to serve a mission.
My decision stunned my family. My older brother declared that if I went on a mission, I should not plan on having anything to do with my family in the future.
But as Nephi promised, the Lord prepared a way for me to do what He asked (see 1 Ne. 3:7). I left for the Taiwan Taichung Mission in May 1996. Right before I left, my brother held me in his arms and tearfully told me that he opposed my going because he hated to lose me. Throughout my mission, my family gave me their full support.
Serving a mission changed my life. I came to understand more clearly my relationship with Heavenly Father. My testimony grew, and the significance of the work, of bringing souls to Jesus Christ, became eternally impressed on my mind and heart.
What is most dear to me now that I have completed my mission is the promise I made to God that I would endure to the end. I remember my mission president’s words as a group of us were soon to be released. He said he wanted us to stay worthy so we could all be together again in heaven someday. I have thought of this challenge often, especially during times of trial.
My heart is filled with gratitude. I am grateful that God has protected me and provided me with learning experiences. Many of these experiences were surprising and unexpected, but they all have stretched me into becoming more like the servant of the Lord I so much want to be.