Monday, August 25, 2014
So yes first full week in Malaysia. Pretty insane.
-So they don't have toilets here really they are called squatters. Basically its a hole in the ground so you just squat and yeah.. also they have hoses instead of toilet paper. Toilet paper is very hard to buy or find here.
-Everyone here loves american people like honestly its cool, you walk through the shoplits and everyone looks at you like you are a celebrity. Pretty wild. And then they love you even more when they find out you can speak Chinese everyone is shocked about that..
Well I guess kind of speak Chinese, it is still really hard to understand but it is coming along slowly.
-Also here they have this huge roundabouts bigger than anything I've ever seen. It's like a freeway that goes around in a circle. Anyways we have to try and navigate them on a bike. It's insane. It's like a video game honestly. One of the scariest things I have ever done in my life hands down.
-They also have the biggest intersections I have ever seen. The lights count down from ten so everyone will jump start the lights and so it feels like mario cart honestly (shoutout to LCA where we played mario cart like champs) There are like mortocycles of every kind some bikes so scooters some trucks some regular cars it really feels like mario cart start, unreal.
-So we don't knock on doors here, you knock on people's gates that's just how all the houses work here.
-Also this week I had some of the grossest food ever. They have the weirdest fruits here. I can't even describe it. They have this one called durian that they sell out in the middle of the road because it smells so bad they can't put it anywhere else. But people somehow like it. I can attest to how bad it smells it is unreal.
-Also they put all these dried fish with the heads and tails in all your food. Was not ready to eat crunchy fish bones, eyes and head and all.
- We have 3 main investigators right now. 2 of them should be baptized in the next three weeks or so.
-One of our investigators told us we were going to die because the last elders called him too much. Kinda scary, planning on staying away from him. But we built a cement wall for him in his back yard. That was quite the experience because we didn't really know how to do cement work but we kind of just made it up as we went along and it turned out not too bad.
-We still run every morning and workout every night which is good. Also our zone loves basketball and so every p-day we play as a district.
(I said that this week was awesome and we still have a lot of time left in kuching but I am ready to help people change their lives and become better people.)
I'll end with a spiritual thought. Sometimes it is hard to understand why we need Christ but if we think about the atonement it helps. This is one of my favorite videos to watch as I try and remember the atonement. We have been sharing it with people.
And then think about what he has done for you. When you have felt his presence in your life. I know his presence is real. I know it.
And then watch this video to bring it home :)
Love you all,
Sunday, August 17, 2014
So after being in Singapore for one night I have been moved to East Malaysia in a city called Kuching.
It's downright crazy here, but I already love it.
-no sidewalks here but we bike everywhere and don't forget it's the left side of the road. That's got my mind all messed up.
-We are over an international ward. So people from everywhere are there and a good amount of them are chinese.
-It's not really Chinese they speak here but a mix of Malaysia English and Chinese among Tai and eban and huayu, haukian, fujiao, tamel, and like a billion other languages. I can't even understand english here a lot.
I feel illiterate here haha
-my companion is the bomb. he's been here a year. 6 months in Singapore and 6 months in Muri in East Malaysia. His chinese is quite good.
-I gave the lesson in priesthood this week. Not sure if they understood a lot of it since my english is not the same as theirs.
-they have sunday school in Chinese and I thought they were talking about seeing God in heaven and how but I asked my companion after and he told me they were talking about Moses and the manna falling from heaven. Great.
- We live in a decent aprt. ill try and send pictures with two other Malay speaking elders. In our ward we have two English sisters as well.
- We email in pretty sketch internet cafe's where kids just play Call of Duty or some sort of it all day. kinda sad. Jackson, don't. You the man.
- We teach in shoplits they are called where most everyone works. It's just a bunch of outside stands selling random stuff.
-I taught my first lesson on Saturday in Chinese. Think it went well. But in the middle of it she started blabbing on about something and later my companion told me it was that I had black hair and she thought that was cool/different
-all the water is bad here so everything has to be filtered.
-it's humid as nuts here.
-We run in the mornings and its great because whenever you start running slow all the stray dogs will start chasing after you and so then you really start booking it. makes you get a good workout in. Not sure what happens if you actually get caught by one of the dogs. Hopefully that doesnt happen. My companion just says that you kick them but that sounds kind of sketch. I'll try and just run fast enough.
-Yeah so that's another thing. They have innumerable stray cats and dogs here. Everywhere.
-we don't have dryers so we just hang our clothes out. They don't have a lot of things actuallly
-We have about 40 active people in our branch and about 70 members.
-we sit on the floor in people's houses, houses usually have about 2 big rooms in a bedroom.
-My companion is from North Ogden by the way
- Everyone here is short like a foot shorter than me. And they all love white people (hongmaren) and they all love the NBA.
-It rains like 24/7 here but you also dry 24/7 here because it is so hot.
- I already can still I've started talking their english a little. It's kind of like how Chinese people drop the articles in words so it sounds very childish.
-oh so immigration hates missionaries. we dress down to regular clothes and have to travel without companions otherwise its unsafe. Even so I got taken and questioned quite thoroughly. They think we get paid and are taking into their country's economy so they let me through but on of the missionary's passport who has been back and forth like 5 times they really questioned him hard and only gave him two weeks in Malaysia before he must report to immigration again. That was in KL. Had no trouble in Kuching immigration. My companion did though. Its ok though. They just don't associate missionaries as volunteers but rather as workers.
-the food here is quite different. Lots of things that I dont ask just eat but nothing too crazy yet. Apparently I will be eating worms soon. Perrrfecct.
-Everything here is like dirt cheap. Like 10 rigit or 2 US dollars for a $12 US meal.
-Chinese people just make you eat and eat. Their pride is to make you fat. Companion's gained 40 lbs. But then again not sure if he's been working out. I will just show him another way of life I guess.
-We are "whitewashing" the area which means that neither companion knows the area. Very hard for him to train me without himself knowing anything about the people or the area but I think President Mains has a lot of trust in us.
-our land lord thinks we throw matches off the side of the aprt building. He doesn't understand that we are new so hopefully nothing comes of that.
-Oh and in the sunday school chinese class this one guy member was teaching a bunch of false doctrine like: we can't come to church if we drink Cola and stuff like that. We got some work to do.
-Right next to our church building is the "Blessed Church" which has rock concerts every night and really gets the people going persay. Everyone loves it there and so many people go there.
I'll end with a scripture that helped me this week: A lot of people think that logic and facts is the only way to know things however 1 corinthians 2:5 says "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
love you all,
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
So we leave tomorrow for Singapore but don't get there until Thursday with all the layovers and everything and time zone stuff. It is kinda crazy. We fly from SLC to LAX to Hong Kong to Singapore. My goal is to read the entire BOM on the plane ride. And give it to someone. Should be a challenge. 15 hours sitting next to someone should give me enough time to convince them the gospel is true, I mean where can they go? they have no choice but to listen haha. I have never flown more than 5 hours or so, so this will be a new experience for sure.
So this week we were teaching on of our "real" investigators and we were trying to get them to pray about God to know if He existed. I shared the example of King Lamoni's father in Alma 22:18. I meant to have her only read the first half of the verse but I forgot because it was in Chinese characters and so I couldn't read it so I just let her read the whole thing. After she read it she started to freak out and started to kick us out of her house. I was really confused and hurried and looked up the verse in English. The beginning talks about the King's prayer and then at the end it says: "And now when the King had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead." I realized the horrible mistake and then we did our best to calm her down. Obviously she thought that if she prayed she would be struck dead. Yeah, in the real field that would have been pretty bad. Might as well get out all the mistakes here at the MTC I guess.
I also this week played 10 songs on piano for the sacrament meeting and priesthood which was an absurdly high number. Not only did our district want to do like a 4 song combined musical number but I also played a musical number myself. I'm hoping to be able to use piano in the area I am assigned.
So yeah that is kind of a weird thing to think about. in the next 72 hours I will be somehow over in Malaysia or Singpore with some random guy trying to teach the gospel in a language I barely know. Good luck Dakota. Thanks.
So we have gotten to be such good friends here with all the administration here. Mostly its because of my companion because he is one of the most outspoken people ever. We honestly sit on the front row of every devotional no matter what time we show up because the people in charge save seats for us. Everyone else is always so confused and always asks "how do you always get front row seat?" Pretty funny. My companion also got the MTC 1st counselor's email address. Stud.
The food here this week was terrible. I think I have had each of their rotations of meals like 10 times each. But I'm guessing when I get to Singapore I will have to eat some crazy animals brain that will make me wish I had MTC food again. I guess we'll soon see.
I am so ready to get out of here except for the fact that I know my language is no where near where it needs to be.
This Sunday I fasted for me to better recognize and feel the spirit. I felt the spirit more that Sunday more than I ever have while I have been at the MTC. I know the power of fasting is real.
I'll end with a quick spiritual thought. I have always thought why do people say that when you bear your testimony, your testimony grows. I think there are two reasons why it does. #1 is that it gives the spirit a chance to testify to you that what your testifying of is true. #2 which I never really thought of before is that is makes you analyze your testimony. You realize where it is weak and maybe even doubt some things you thought you knew were true. This then forces you to study your doubts out in your mind and pray about them and then study the scriptures about it. Then your testimony grows even stronger than it used to be before you began to doubt or recognize your weakness.
Love you all,
See you in Singapore!! (Or Malaysia)
-Ping Zhang Lao
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
This week was great. Me and austin got to play our piano duets for a bunch of people here. I also got to play my arrangement of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" for the Departure Devotional here for like 300 missionaries. Can't compare to the 4th of July performance but still really cool.
So being district leader is like impossible. Our district can be so all over the place. I'm like study study study and everyone else is like play play play. We tried to set some goals and we are going somewhere but at times it can still be a little frustrating.
It is getting sad. Only one week left. I am so ready to get out of this place but on the other hand I know my chinese is no where near par. I know I will get there and know nothing but still it's time to teach real people. That is if I can understand a single word. We have these lessons with our "investigators" who are really our teachers which go great because I can actually understand them and teach to their needs. And then we have these skype lessons with real Chinese people aka Zhonguren and I have to ask them to repeat themselves every 5 seconds. Totally different language I swear.
The basketball has also gotten a lot worse lately. Not me, just the players here. A bunch left and so now the games are kind of pointless. At least the weights don't get any lighter. Still can hit the gym.
I swear my companion never lifted in his whole life (except hay bells) but now he loves it. All he wants to do is bench press though. He's obsessed with chest and biceps. Pretty common for beginner lifters who want to impress the ladies.
The Mandarin branch is huge now. We have 4 singapore missionaries in our district and another 6 or so in another Mandarin district. We are the oldest Mandarin district now which is weird because it seems like just yesterday that we were the youngest.
My companion lost his Journal (we seem to lose a lot of things here) and we were looking for days for it only to realize it was on his desk. fail.
Then he lost his journal again later this week and again we looked for it for a couple days (including his desk multiple times) We finally couldn't figure out where it was and finally we just decided to pray and within 5 minutes while he was on the toilet he realized where he had left it. The good ole laundry room. And of course there it was. Pretty crazy.
I'll end with a spiritual thought. Me and my companion have been thinking a lot about Jesus Christ and his perfect life and Atonement. How can someone really live a perfect life on this crazy place we call earth. This week someone mentioned a thought that really struck me in district meeting. It was that Jesus Christ was the most talented person alive. If you believe he was the Son of God then you must admit he had infinite talent. And what did he do with all that talent? Well, he gave it away. To who? The father. He put his infinite talent and will and aligned to the father's will perfectly. And that is why he perfect. No one else in the world has been able to keep their will perfectly in line with the father's during our lives. We all lose the path a little bit here and there at some times in our lives.
Love you all,
Elder Pierce (Ping Zhang Lao)
P.S. I forgot to mention but the food here is getting pretty bad. Just the same thing over and over. Can't wait to taste some real asian food. Although i might bite my tongue on that one. I have heard that the food can actually be pretty weird. We'll see, 8 days!!!