Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week 18

This week was the best week of the week! (What?!) We have no new investigators, but we did bring an awesome referral with us to church. He's a very busy businessman, so he won't be back in Kuala Lumpur for a while, but when he returns, we're excited to see how he accepts the gospel. We were able to meet many interesting people this week. One of them knew a lot about our church already, but wouldn't accept a Book of Mormon. Another, the lady who randomly asked Elder Chong if he was Japanese a while back, we ran into again and she mostly just told me why I shouldn't read the Book of Mormon. Interestingly enough though, she did say something about how I should ask God for myself if it is true, and then act on my answer. I told her that there was a scripture in the Book of Mormon about that, and the reason I was serving a mission is because I had that answer. She still didn't accept. One thing I neglected to mention in my last letter was a highlight of my mission thus far. Two weeks ago, we got to get our feet eaten by fish! It was a great experience, but it's difficult to keep your feet in the water because when like 30 fish are all biting your feet, it is incredibly ticklish. Though I haven't really noticed while it has been happening, I think my Chinese has improved quite a bit over the last several weeks. Having a native companion is great! I hope I'm helping his English, too, but he already speaks many languages pretty well. It's cool how so many Chinese people here speak Mandarin, Cantonese, English, Malay, and Hakkan, sometimes even Fujianhua(?). I never really knew until I got here how different Mandarin and Cantonese sound. I drank soy milk this week, which was not the best beverage in the world. Soy pudding, though, isn't bad. Well, have a good week everybody. Study the Book of Mormon carefully, and it will bless every aspect of your lives! Love, Elder Earl

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Week 17

It was a good one. One major theme of the week has been the rain. Last week was my first chance of being outside in the rain (it's rained before, but in Singapore, you can be inside all the time, and usually I haven't had to go out), but this week I got that opportunity several times. The best one happened yesterday. After church, we decided to walk around and see the nearby area. Once we were a few minutes away, it suddenly started pouring, and though I had a waterproof rain-fly-ish thing on my backpack, everything in there was soaked. We decided to get on a bus going the opposite direction of where we wanted to go just to get out of the rain. When we finally got on a bus going the right direction, our plans had changed drastically, but a cool lady got on the bus with us and approached us to talk for quite a while. Just one of many, many evidences that happen every day that the Lord knows what he's doing. Another interesting part of the week is one that just barely happened. Transfers! We knew we'd be safe, since we're on a different schedule from the English and Malay missionaries, but our zone is expanding a lot and changed a bunch too. Many of the Malays I knew in the MTC will be training here. Also, one of the sisters in our branch was transferred. Our investigators are great, but they can't be baptized until they can come to church consistently. So hopefully miracles can happen soon! And we hope we can find lots of new investigators, too. We made cool business cards with our church address on them this week. So we feel pretty official, but because of the obscure location of the church, the map we have on it may not be super useful. Oh, well. :) Also we had a few more meal appointments this week. Our favorite was our double dinner appointment night. We taught an investigator with some members who fed us, and after we went to another family's home and were fed there. It was quite a bit of food, but it was all amazing. Both of those families are super cool! One night this week, we had 8 people stay in our place because the Assistants came to do exchanges with the zone leaders, and then the Sitiawan elders came through on their way to their area. It was pretty great. Every day is great here, and I hope it is for all of you back home, as well! Love, Elder Earl

Week 16

Ni hao, everybody! This week has been a good one. It was exciting hearing about transfers last week. Both my MTC buddies are now in East Malaysia. I talked to Elder Frey on the phone, and he is now companions with the one of the Elders I knew at the MTC. Small world. They are staying a bit longer in Singapore for the Piano Guys concert. Lucky them! Piano Guys are randomly very popular here. I heard their CD was the #1 selling CD in Singapore last year, and they have posters in the main bookstore of Malaysia called Popular. Anyway, we had some good experiences teaching this week. Our first lesson was us going up to the cool Tamils we met who speak Chinese and we just started teaching. One of them prayed for her first time, and it was awesome. During the lesson, a random guy came up to us and asked if we were the Joseph Smith church, so that was kind of weird. A few days before that, a random lady out of the blue asked Elder Chong "You're from Japan, right?" He said no, and then she said "okay, missionaries". Elder Chong asked excitedly, "You know missionaries?" and she, looking at him like that was the dumbest question ever, said "Of course I do!" and then she just walked away. It was really strange. We also made progress with our two investigators who are super prepared. They both have work issues, but one of them texted us to tell us that we were right, she shouldn't work on Sunday. Hopefully she comes next week! The other one has asked his boss and been denied, but in the middle of the lesson he said "I believe in Joseph Smith, I believe in the Book of Mormon, I believe in all of it!". It was really good. We also had a super cool person in the branch decide he would serve, just as one finally left this week to serve in our mission as he waits for his visa. There is yet another soon-to-leave missionary who is going to Taiwan. Our branch is super cool. We also got to go twice to the home for disabled people to unload 300 wheelchairs the church donated, which was really great. Saturday was a very interesting day for me. It was Malaysia's national day, it was Elder Chong's 1 year mark, and it was the biggest rainstorm I've seen so far. We ate a slightly nicer meal for his year mark, and we braved the rain which, unfortunately, soaked many copies of the Book of Mormon. :( Overall, it was a good week, and I'm excited for another. Next week is transfers for all the non-Chinese missionaries, and lots of new people are coming, so there will be changes for sure all around. Have an amazing week! Love, Elder Earl

Week 15 -- A very, very sad time in the Singapore Mission.

I assumed you'd hear from other sources, so I'll tell you that there was an elder this week who died due to injuries he received when hit by a car. We had a Malaysia/Singapore wide fast yesterday for him, but he passed on last night to serve as a missionary on the other side. It's been very sad for our whole mission, and I'm sure much worse for his family. Luckily, the mission president was in East Malaysia at the time. He is a truly great man. He has so many responsibilities, and he handles them all spectacularly. We have been praying constantly for his family, for his companion and for everyone involved in this sad situation. Anyway, although other things, right now, seem so trivial. I guess I can talk about the rest of the week. We taught some new people, put another guy on date, and even taught an English lesson this week. It was great, but very hard (he's been dropped before), and I did almost all the teaching. We also got a chance to do a service project at a home for disabled people, which was super great. I'm glad we had that opportunity. We painted. One funny thing that happened was I started talking to a Pakistani, and said in Urdu "I know a little Urdu" mostly to make him laugh, so we could talk more, but he just talked to me in Urdu a ton, and I was really confused. There is a cool guy in our branch who has been waiting on a visa to go to his assigned mission in Australia, but it has taken so long, that he'll be starting his mission here this week, along with two Chinese Elders we knew in the MTC and one from Mainland China, I believe. We just got word about transfers, and my friend Elder Mitchell is going to Miri. Elder Frey is opening up Sitiawan with a trainee. Super exciting! Well, I'm looking forward to another week here, and hopefully it'll be great again! Thanks for being such a great family and support to me. Pray for the family of the elder who passed on. -Elder Earl