A Rugby man has just returned from a two year mercy mission in China.
Jared McSweeney, 20, volunteered to serve a mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He said: “When I first read that I was going to Hong Kong, I was shocked - I had to read the letter a few times before I really believed it.
“Then to hear I would be using Cantonese to teach people about Jesus Christ and the church just added to my shock.”
Missionaries for the church tend to pay for the mission costs themselves and to do so, Jared worked as customer sales representative at Cemex in Rugby prior to his mission.
Jared said: “Chinese people are very welcoming. They are very polite and there are a lot of social rules relating to conduct. They are a very respectful and kind people and although they didn’t always accept our help or agree with our message, they were always respectful and kind.”
Learning to speak Cantonese was quite a challenge for Jared. His first step was to attend a language class at the Missionary Training Centre in Provo in America. The next step was on the streets in China. This was where the learning really took place as there is nothing quite like being thrown in at the deep end. Jared is now fluent in Cantonese and enjoys practising his recently acquired skill when he gets the chance.
One of the highlights of his mission was helping a family who were living in very difficult circumstances to move house, a move that would help them to have a much better future.
Jared said: “My time in China as a missionary really was the best two years of my life.
“I am currently working full time in my previous role at Cemex and I am hoping to return to Hong Kong in July to visit my new friends. In September I am going to university to study medicine.”