Elder Yoke Sang Freddie Chan Of the Seventy
In Sept 1972 when I was 17 years old, I was enlisted to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. At that time, I did not fully comprehend its impact on my life as I had to sign a 13 year contract with them. My duty was to serve and protect my country from enemies in times of war.
In order to train us to become a soldier, we had to undergo physical and mental training to toughen up our bodies and minds to be physically and mentally fit. We were trained to listen and obey commands and carry them out efficiently. We developed a strict discipline into our daily lives as every second was counted in carrying out our assignments. I was glad that being trained and being physically and mentally fit was a strong foundation in my military life.
As I reflect back on my Air force days, I know that Heavenly Father has prepared me to receive His Gospel for I did join the church when I was in the Air Force. My 13 years in the Air Force provided me with the opportunity to learn and to serve. Therefore, service was part and parcel in my everyday life. When I joined the Church back in 1980, I was prepared to serve God in whatever way that I could be of service to Him. I learn that in giving service to others, we can approach it in 2 ways. One is service with a sense of fulfilling it as a duty and obligation and the other is service with humility and love.
The greatest example in serving with love is our Master and our Savior Jesus Christ. In his earthly ministry, He showed by example how one should serve others in their need. He would listen and give counsel to those that reached out to Him. He would seek out the poor and needy and gave them the blessings they required. During the Last Supper with his apostles, He said, ”A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” 1
As we learn from His example, we too can do likewise. My 13 years of service in the Air Force has instilled in me the discipline to carry out duties effectively but with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it has taught me to serve others with humility and with love.
I am very grateful to my mother who throughout her life has always been of service to others. She taught me the principle of work as she took over most of the burden of providing food and shelter for our family. She earned money by doing odd jobs like washing clothes for families and doing errands for others. I have felt the hardness of the palm of her hands from washing clothes and felt the love she has for us. She was willing to sacrifice her life in working so that my brothers and I would have the opportunity to complete our education in school. If any of her friends needed her help, she was always there to lend a helping hand. Her fine example has given me a strong foundation to serve others whenever possible.
Pride is the stumbling block that will hamper our service to others. To serve with love requires one to have compassion, empathy, understanding and willing to take action to help. The Prophet Joseph said “that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” 2
My youngest son Brandon submitted his missionary application before he turned 19 to serve a mission and his application was rejected because he was overweight. His application would be reconsidered again after he loses 20 kilos. I had to break this news to him and he was dumbfounded for a moment. I then asked if he still had a desire to go serve a mission and he said he had. I told him that he would have to go for a weight loss program to shed off those extra kilos from his body. I enrolled him into a fitness center and engaged a personal trainer for him. Within a few months, he was able to come down to the weight that would allow him to go serve his mission.
He was willing to sacrifice and work hard to qualify himself to serve God as found in Section 4 of the Doctrine and Covenants, “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work … And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.' 3
Elder Chan is currently serving in the Singapore Mission and I always look forward to receive his weekly email. I can see the change in him as he seeks to build the kingdom of God here. In one of his emails, he bored his testimony, ”There is no greater love than serving the people….and serving the Lord…and it is a great lesson that I have learnt in my mission. I start to learn so much more ... and starting to realize the joy … and also the pains in doing missionary work…I have come to really understand more of the Atonement now and also realizing how important it is when it is being applied. I am grateful to be shoulder to shoulder with my Savior and to have Him (the perfect missionary) leading and guiding me.”
The joy of serving others with love brings about a strengthening of faith and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the many opportunities I have in serving in various callings in the church and they have brought me closer to the Lord and be a humble servant.
With every opportunity to be of service to others, we have the privilege of following our Savior’s footsteps in ministering to others. Let us always have room in our hearts as we are called upon to help establish the kingdom of God here on earth.
I bear you my testimony that I know that Heavenly Father lives and Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Because of His great love for us, He was willing to sacrifice His Son to atone for our sins. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and President Monson is our living prophet today. We have the Book of Mormon as the word of God and another testament of Jesus Christ. His kingdom will continue to roll forth into all corners of the earth, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. ■
Caption: Elder Yoke Sang Freddie Chan
1 John 13:34-35.
2 Lectures on Faith, comp. N. B. Lundwall (1999), 58.Lectures on Faith
3 Doctrine and Covenants 4:2-3 & 5.