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Asia Area Leader Message

Finding Joy in Establishing a Happy Eternal Family

By Elder Fook Chuen (Zeno) Chow Of the Seventy

Work has always been both demanding and rewarding.  The key challenge is to maintain a good balance between family, work, Church, and personal well-being.  Learning how to maintain such balance is one of the important experiences of mortality.

One Friday evening I reached home after work and was totally exhausted.  My wife, Esther, was away practicing with the choir in preparation for an upcoming performance while I was at home alone feeling a bit depressed.

All of a sudden, the doorbell rang.  This was very odd as I was not expecting anyone to visit.  I could not believe my eyes when I opened the door to find my daughter, who lives in the United States, with her two little boys.  Their visit was a surprise to Esther in support of her choir’s final performances.  For me, it was a gift from heaven arriving at the perfect moment.  As I held them in my arms, nothing else seemed to matter anymore.  Everything was put back into proper perspective.

The gospel teaches us that our children and grandchildren are sons and daughters of God and are entrusted to us so that we can become His partners, to “lead [them], guide [them], walk beside [them], help [them] find the way.  Teach [them] all that [they] must do …,” to become the ones He wants them to be, and “to live with Him someday.”1

It is important to remember that our Heavenly Father “does not do things by ‘coincidence’ but by ‘divine design’”2.  Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson also reminded us that “Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.”3 Our families are the ones that need us the most and we are placed in the best position to provide the love, care, example, and teaching that they require.

Raising children in the Lord’s way can be particularly challenging for first-generation Latter-day Saints, of which I am one.  Despite the fact that many of our parents may be honest, true, kind and loving people, we did not experience firsthand what a Christ-centered family is like.

Many experts are ready to give us advice.  No doubt much of this advice is valuable, but not all of them are in line with gospel teachings.

I am grateful for living prophets who expound on the word of God and help us understand and apply these precious principles in our home.  Building a Christ-centered family is not always easy, especially when beliefs and values from our upbringing and culture are not in total harmony with the ways of the Lord.  Applying necessary changes requires a lot of faith, courage, persistence, and most importantly reliance on the Lord, who “giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”4

Since each of our children is unique, there is no one-size-fit-all solution or approach.  We need to stay close to the Spirit to be taught the best way to minister to each of our children individually.  As a result, reading and pondering the Book of Mormon each day, seeking the Lord’s guidance through sincere prayers, and faithfully partaking of the sacrament and observing the Sabbath at home all have significant importance.  As parents, we need to cleanse our internal vessel and ready ourselves to receive divine guidance and strength to do what is right.

Helping our children to have faith in and a testimony of our Savior when they are still young is our best gift to these precious ones.   The Lord promised:  “He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken.”5 Starting today will give our children the best chance to succeed in building an unshakable faith in our Savior, recognizing the still small voice, maintaining a firm testimony, and establishing a personal relationship with the Savior that they may never fall away.  If there are things we need to repent, today is the time to make these changes so that we can become effective gospel teachers at home.  Our love and example will change the lives of our children, and their children, and their children’s children.

It is my hope and prayer that we will all be able to make the statement as Joshua did:  “choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, [which is my children and my children’s children], we will serve the Lord.”6  In the name of our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

Caption: Elder Fook Chuen (Zeno) Chow

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NOTES:

[1] “I am a Child of God”, Hymns, no. 301

2 Neal A. Maxwell, “Brim with Joy”, Brigham Young University devotional, Jan. 23, 1996, 2, speeches.byu.edu.

3 Bonnie L. Oscarson, “The Needs Before Us”, October 2017 General Conference

4  1N 3:7

5 D&C 88:81

6Joshua 24:15