Tuesday, September 30, 2014
This week has been great. So we got a new Sister serving in our ward and of course it is my cousin Sister Romney! Super awesome. Second Cousin..but still super cool. She is a super hard worker and so I can't wait to work with her in our branch!
So this week we had three baptisms scheduled but one of them got offended by our ward members and another got all scared to get baptized and backed out due to his family. But Ivan did get baptized. It was wonderful.
The baptismal service was on Saturday and our Mission President and his wife both attended which was rare since our mission is so big. They were in Kuching for the new missionary training so they just stayed afterwards for our baptism. Ivan is about 20 years old and he loves doing business but has a really strong testimony of the gospel. We are really excited for him. We had one of our members President Teo baptize him. (see pictures)
-got sick again this week. I guess just how dirty the food is, is still getting to me.
-12 missionaries got kicked out of Eastern Malaysia because of immigration issues so we had like a mini transfer today but i didn't get moved. (As you can tell immigration is a pain here especially if you are a white guy)
-oh to give you an idea baptizing people here is pretty rare especially for Chinese. My companion has only had one other baptism in his time here which has been a little over a year. So we are feeling very blessed to have one in just 7 weeks being here.
-Time in Malaysia is quite not on time. Our baptism started at 6. Pres. Teo who was going to baptize Ivan showed up an hour late because at about 6 oclock he decided to take a nice jog. So yeah the baptize ended up going a little long but it worked out. It's a big problem and we are trying to get out sacrament meeting to start on time but it is hard sometimes. People are just late a lot.
I don't have much time but I would like to end with a thought. With General Conference coming up I was reading some of President Monson's past addresses and a few of them really hit me. I love how much he really stresses that this is supposed to be a happy gospel and that we should be grateful and happy.
"Stresses come in our lives regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important--and what is most important always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know."
-Pres. Thomas S. Monson
Please do something to show your love to someone dear to you. You will not regret it. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of Love. I would encourage you all to take a minute and read this talk by a prophet called "Love-The Essence of the Gospel."
It may just change your life.
P.S. Thank you for all your letters and support. It means the world :)
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I don't have a lot of time so this one will be a little short.
-Today is transfer day but I am staying in Kuching along with my trainer. Not too surprised because I am still in training.
-Singapore this week for zone conference! Super awesome! Got to see lots of people! Met Elder Baranoff from MIT who I had been hearing a lot about. He runs track and cross country for MIT and is an awesome guy. Also got to use a lot of Chinese with real Chinese people in Sinapore and all the Chinese missionaries. My Chinese is coming along slowly but surely :) A good amount of the chinese elders in this mission don't have very good chinese. Or else my Chinese is just good. Not really sure.
-Funny story. We are teaching this guy who is 70+ years old and has one big tooth in his mouth. Really awkward because it just sticks out and he doesnt have any other teeth. We were just teaching with him and then it fell out. Quite awkward. He didn't even say anything about it. Then we go back two weeks later and the tooth is still on the floor of his house. I don't even think he noticed haha.
-We had a huge basketball game in Singapore which was a lot of fun for Zone conference. Finally we had a big group together which was nice.
-We have 3 investigators planned to be baptized this week including the lady that had the dream that I talked about last week. We are seeing a lot of miracles in our area.
- My companion got destroyed in immigration and only have 50 days here instead of 90. Immigration is pretty sketchy coming back from Singapore. We have to dress down and can't travel together and still we usually get questioned like crazy just because we are white people. Immigration hates us but the people themselves treat us like celebrities. Especially when they find out we can speak chinese.
- Oh yeah the food in Sinapore is way way better than Malaysia. Honestly a Subway footlong sandwich literally was the most amazing thing I thought I had ever had. Bacon Chicken Ranch was literally heaven on earth. But I love Kuching and wouldn't trade the area for anything. Especially the people.
- Learning quickly that no one in Malaysia has any idea what MIT is. But in Singapore it is revered by everyone. Just totally different societies.
-Thank you everyone for the letters and mail. I got it all in Singapore this week. I will reply as soon as I can. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
One crucial thing I learned at Zone Conference in Sinapore this week is how to grow faith. It finally hit me. One the easiest ways to grow faith is to recognize miracles in your life. To recognize the spiritual promptings follow it, WRITE IT DOWN and then try and recognize the miracles that come after. I keep a spiritual journal like it talks about in 1 Nephi 9 and it changed my life. The more I recognized the spirit and the miracles in my life the more my faith grew and the more my faith grew the more I learned to recognize the spirit and follow it and recognize the miracles in my life. Please write down the miracles you see in your life. That way you won't ever forget them. And your kids will be able to read about them and you can refer to them and you will never lose your testimony of those things. I can promise you.
I love you all. And I love the gospel.
Sending my love,
Monday, September 15, 2014
Mooncake Festival week.
My companion has been very sick this week so we couldn't go out very much the last three days. The food is very dirty here and so it is quite easy to come down with a stomach bug here. My stomach also has been getting thrown all over the place since I have been here but its ok. You can eat food forever here which is basically just noodles and rice and chicken and then still you will feel hungry. Today he feeling better though so we should be good.
This week was the Mooncake Festival and so we went with a member. We all carry these lanterns down to the park about a mile and then write your wishes on the lanterns (in chinese of course) and then put then in like a mini hot balloon type of thing and then let them float into the sky. My companion is very good at writing Chinese so he did the writing for us. This holiday is only for the Chinese so there are no Malay people that participate.
It was really cool because literally like thousands of Chinese people at this random park at like 9 oclock at night and the sky is filled with lights (lanterns). Super cool. You also have to eat Mooncake but we didn't take the chance to do that. We were quite busy.
So one guy we are teaching is Anglican pastor. He came to church last week and he is in charge of 5000 people at his church. Imagine if we could get him to join the church. We would have the like two stakes here in kuching in no time but we will see. He studied theology for like the last 70 years and so his knowledge is off the charts. His questions are insanely hard but we are doing are best. Most of his questions we have write down and then go back and research them before we teach him next. We are giving an hour lecture to his 15 priests on the 30th of this month which should be quite interesting. Quite hard to be honest but we will prepare.
Church is great we have a really nice building which is unusual because all the other branches meet in shoplits which is a dirty outside food court. They rent them out for Sunday church meetings. The meeting is in English but we translate for people into Chinese. Translating is hard not gonna lie.
Have not gone tracting yet. We have been good and getting referalls through investigators and members so that we haven't had to go out and tract to find new investigators. We are teaching about 8 people right now. 4 are set to be baptized on the 27th of this month but we aren't sure if they all will on that day but hopefully at least just 1 :)
Everyday the language gets easier but it is still really hard. Also this Sunday I had to go on splits with a Malay Elder to sacrament meeting because my companion was too sick to go. That was quite a test because I couldn't rely on my companion for the Chinese. It was a challenge and I definitely didn't understand a lot but I made it work. I also gave a talk this week in Sacrament. Shared about my testimony of Jesus Christ in English and then translated it to Mandarin.
Before I end I want to share a miracle this week that we saw. One of our new investigators we were telling her about the Background of the Book of Mormon and how a family travels from Jerusalem to America. As soon as we said that she stopped us mid-sentence and told us she had to tell us something. She then proceeded to tell us about a dream she had had long before she had met us where she met two people who were dressed in shirts and ties but she couldn't see their faces. They then gave her a book and explained that it was a bout a family that came from Jerusalem to america. Then she said she took the Book and read and applied the Book in her dream it made her so happy. We were both just like dumbstruck. She is not crazy at all either. A very down to earth lady. I testify that God is behind this work and is preparing people to recieve the gospel. Jesus Christ is my Savior. And he really is behind the restoration of his gospel.
P.S. Someone asked me if I like the mission field or the MTC better...I love the mission field I hundred times more because it is so fulfilling. It is so much harder than the MTC but it is so fulfilling. In the MTC its all about preparing yourself yourself yourself. In the field its all about preparing others others others. Forgetting yourself is one of the greatest things that ever happened to me and I never realized it happened until a few days ago.
"For whosever will save his life shall lose it: And whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" -Matthew 16:25
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Monday, September 8, 2014
So my daily schedule has been requested:
7:00 am wake up. Excercise and get ready for the day and eat breakfast
8:30 am personal study
9:30 companion study
10:30 Language study/proselyte
11:30 go visit people do service volunteer work and teach people about the gospel
Lunch in here somewhere
around 6 pm we have dinner sometimes with members but mostly we cook on our own some vegetables and pasta or sometimes hamburgers and lots and lots of eggs.
Then go back out until 9:30
9:30-10:00 we plan for the next day.
10:00 - 11 personal time
Also got a new taiwanese race bike this week so I am now beating my companion everywhere. I guess it is more about the bike than the person. Made me feel better since I thought I was getting out of shape. Definitely not so. If anything in better shape than when I left.
We hang out a lot in shoplits and talk to the people there. They are just like outside food stands.
The chinese is coming slowly but surely. Still hard but I can see imporvement everyday.
We had 4 investigators at church this week which was awesome for us. We are excited for a lot of our investigators. Showing good progress.
Each week we volunteer at this mental hospital and feed the kids there. It's quite an experience. I had the sisters in our ward send you pictures of it.
Me and Elder Fletcher who is an amazing missionary my companion started a weekly sports/game night for our branch every saturday night which we started this week. It turned out great. We had three investigators come and think it will help the branch come together while having some fun. We play basketball soccer badminton board games, settlers of Catan yes mom they have it here too. :) haha
Oh and here they play badminton religiously..its fast becoming my favorite sport, next to basketball of course but still its a lot of fun.
We finally succeeded in getting the elders in our apartment to go running with us in the morning which now makes an 4 pack of white guys running around the neighborhoods getting chased by dogs in the mornings. it makes quite the scene. Plus I have never seen anyone ever go jogging in this country in the morning. Just not in the culture I guess but that makes us look even more weird.
one of our investigators has a huge smoking problem. We are trying to help him with it but he smoked yesterday at church and so he is still struggling. We aren't sure how to help. We have decided we might try having us do 100 pushups for every cigarette he smokes. Both of us and him. Might get really sore really fast but I guess its worth a try.
I'll end with a scripture I found this week
Matthew 8:22 Jesus asks will you follow me to a man...he says yes but first wants to bury his dead father, jesus then says "let the dead bury the dead" which seems kind of rough but honestly I take this to be that we only get so much time in life. This man had one chance to follow Jesus he better take it and help people who are living who still have time to change and time to become better people on earth. The time is now. Become.
Love you all,
P.S. if you want to know anything particular about the mission or what is going on..please shoot me an email and I'll try and include whatever you want in next weeks email.
Keep it real :)
Monday, September 1, 2014
The heat is finally setting in here. Today we went to Bako national park..and I got burnt to a crisp. Not sure how that is going to work out tomorrow..the place was pretty cool though..got to see a bunch of monkeys and climb in the jungle for a while.. and then go to the beach and explore..
-but yes the heat is unbelievable, so humid. Honestly it rains everyday harder than any rain I have ever experienced and the storms come in within 5 minutes. It'll be completely hot like over 100 degrees and then just down pour for 3 straight hours. We still go out in the rain but we usually just get soaked and caked with mud. But if it clears up you dry in like 5 minutes due to the humidity.
-We bike everywhere. It is quite the workout in the heat. And we bike fast too. My companion beats me everywhere. He has the endurance like no one I have ever seen. I have never been so tired. Well almost except for maybe stations with Coach Anderson at MIT at pre-season getting in shape time. Those were a little tougher.
-The food here is dirt cheap. You can buy a full meal for about 10 ringit which is about 3 american dollars.
-This week we found the first gym I have ever seen here. It was in the Sisters apartment complex. It had one bench press and one machine. I sat down to bench press with 40's on each side. Then I could only do one rep and was terribly mad at myself because I thought I gotten weaker. Then I realized that I was lifting Klgs and not lbs so I was actually trying to bench over 200lbs. Made me feel much better. Still run in the mornings and run from the dogs. fun stuff.
don't have much time this week but would like to share a miracle that happened this week. We were going to visit an investigator with a member but she wasn't home but the member next to them was. They only spoke malay but our member did as well. They talked for a long time and the member was crying and stuff but I still couldn't understand anything of course. Later the member told us they had lost their job that day, and weren't going to be able to eat anymore. They had invited us into their homes and were feeding us some soda and some crackers. I felt so terrible about it. I had literally eaten some of their last food. I then learned that they had just had the sisters in their ward over for dinner that night. They had served their last food to the sisters without complaining. I am sure the sisters didn't know that they were feeding them their last food when they had asked to come over for dinner. But wow what Christ-like love this woman had for others. When everything was imploding on her, she turned outward and gave of what she had left to others. When everyone else would turn inward and worrying about themselves she was telling me to eat her last food. She was giving everything she had to survive. That is the true character of Christ. That is his most defining Characteristic.
Turning outward when everyone else would turn inward.
The miracle was that we met with this member. (not our intention and the member we had with us was a malay speaker and had someone that could help her with her job.)
Love you all,