Thursday, July 25, 2013

Week 10

I'm trying to remember my last day at the MTC, it seems so long ago, but we got up and packed, and both the other two going to Singapore were feeling pretty sick, then we went to class, which was really weird since most everybody was gone. Elder Fletcher first left to his reassignment. Next, we were up, and we hurried around to get last-minute things done, and we went to the travel office. They gave us a bunch of forms. One of them was a work permit application, one was something telling us how to answer questions to get into Singapore. We rode up and met some really cool guys from Saudi Arabia. They were 18 years old, brothers from different wives of their father, studying abroad in Salt Lake and going home for the first time in a few months. One lady we talked to said she had a niece in our mission. Then we flew to LA and checked in and stuff. It was kind of scary because I just read on a paper we had that the airline we were transferring to had a carryon limit of 15 pounds, but they let us check in our carryons for free and she said though our backpacks were too heavy, it was okay.

Well, after I called you guys, we went to our flight to Hong Kong. It was definitely super long. And it was funny because when I told my companion that I didn't stand up once on the flight to Mumbai, he laughed and thought that was really dumb, but none of us stood up at all on the whole flight. We flew over Taiwan and Japan (and China, obviously). I also met a cool guy who was flying over to Asia to write a book about health care systems. We got to Hong Kong, and thought we'd have to hurry super fast, but we made our next flight in plenty of time.

One guy we talked to waiting for the flight was really nice, but then suddenly said he had to leave and just walked to the other side of the seating area. We then flew to Singapore over Vietnam. We didn't see pretty much of anything until we landed because it was super cloudy, though. We got in with our work permit applications without any problem, then got our luggage and our Mission President, his wife, the two assistants, and one Chinese Elder were all there. We took those pictures I sent you and ate at Burger King. Then we went with Elder Frey (the Chinese elder) to the church using the MRT and contacted a few people on the way. He's been out since November, and his Chinese is super good.

We heard the three areas we would be serving in and who the trainer is for each (but not which one we were assigned to yet). One is staying here in Singapore with Elder Frey, another was going to East Malaysia in Sibu, and one to open up Kuala Lumpur with a native Malaysian Chinese. There haven't been Mandarin missionaries there that anybody knows of.

At the Church, we had a little welcome orientation, where we met with President Mains and his wife and the financial elder. Apparently our mission has more senior couples than any other mission. And it's one of the most expensive missions for sure. Oh, and none of the areas we'll ever serve in has malaria, so that won't be a problem. And we're the first missionaries to do this work permit thing right when we get in, so we won't do via runs to Indonesia like most missionaries, which is apparently pretty lucky because many missionaries have been nearly arrested.

We also wrote talks for the next day that we all gave and then we went to the other church which is attached to a house we stayed at the next night. We ate at a good Chinese place, then we went back and slept.

I don't know why I'm going into such great detail. Anyway, the next day we had the program, we gave talks, we found out our assignments, but because work permits take 14 days to process, we will all be here at least a couple more weeks. Then the trainers flew back out to Sibu, where they've been. The work permit stuff was unexpected, I think. Flights are very easy to find, I think.

Then we hauled luggage across town on foot, on MRT, and on bus, and we sweated a TON. Our place is by the first church-ish, and it's pretty big (3 bathrooms, 2 large study rooms, we all sleep in the same room, a kitchen, big open area), so it can fit 6. There was Elder Frey and another companionship there before.

We ate some really good Chicken rice, which is something they said we'll eat more than anything here. We taught three lessons that night (well, I mostly observed). The first was a new investigator, but I don't think he's super interested. We taught about prayer. Next was a recent convert who needs to understand why we need the BoM and the restoration better. And last was a pretty great new investigator who agreed to pray daily, read the BoM, and go to church (she already took off work for next week!). I was very jet lagged though and nearly fell asleep. There were members at all those lessons, and they were nice.

We ate Subway after. Oh, and by the way, this was Elder Mitchell, Elder Frey, and me. Elder Sutherland has been tagging along with the other companionship. The next day we mostly just did doctor stuff (blood test, chest x-rays, etc) and study. Then we had a baptism that Elder Frey did, which the new investigator came to. On Sunday, we went to church, where the members are super nice, but I didn't understand some of the people. Others I can, though. There were a bunch of investigators they had met last Sunday at a place, so we went there contacting later in the evening. I definitely didn't say much contacting, but it was fun and we passed out a bunch of BoMs.

 Today is p-day and we're going to do capture the flag as a zone, I guess. Super exciting. Our Zone is all of Singapore, which right now includes the 6 of us and about 20 Malay elders and sisters, which are actually English speaking when they are in Singapore. I don't know what exactly's happening in the next few weeks, but as soon as our work permits are processed, I guess I'll be flying out to Kuala Lumpur to meet my trainer Elder Chong and start the work up there. I hear it's a really cool city, but nothing like Singapore, since even in KL, you can only drink bottled water. That's one nice thing about Singapore. Well, I probably included tons of unimportant details and forgot some of the cool things. Oh, well. Have a great week! -Ge Zhanglao

p.s. Oh, and the reason I talked about that random airport lady is because the very first sister we met at the baptism happened to be her niece.

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