Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week 22

Hello everyone! So this was a super busy week as you would expect at Christmas.
Some of you already know about this, but I will explain it for the sake of this email.
Christmas is NOT celebrated in Malaysia. It is not a holiday. They don't celebrate the birth of Christ at all. Instead, it is "Hari Makan" which is the Day of Eating. 
This is basically what my Christmas was like. It started on Christmas Eve evening, and we went to 2 dinner appointments, and they stuffed us full until Elder Ormsby and I were both sick. Then the next morning at 10, we started at our branch president's house, and ate a ton, and then went to 7 other members houses throughout the day, and if you don't eat they will just say "Don't be shy! Eat more eat more!" And by the end of Christmas, we are just soooooo sick of food. I hated chicken curry after that day. The day after Christmas, I ate one meal at a members' house, and that was it. I didn't want anything else to eat because I was so sick. But horray for Skyping that day. :D :D

During the week, we met a few people that really made my week. For start, we found a lady named Sister Sheera that hasn't been to church in a few months. We went over to her house on Christmas Eve and she was really really nice. We watched the movie Joy to the World with her family. 
The next day (Christmas) we went to her house, and we found out that her dad was never taught about the Gospel, but he was interested in learning. So we taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel. That was a pretty cool experience. He speaks better English than Malay, so it was weird teaching in English. We're hoping to go over again for New Years day. :) (Btw, his name is Simon)

Preston is our investigator that I've been talking about. and guess what! He stopped smoking on christmas eve! So we are almost set for our baptism on this coming Saturday. He just needs to be interviewed. He will be baptised by Elder Ormsby. Really super excited for that! :)
Thanks for the Christmas presents! I have been eating all the candy pretty slowly though because I just feel sooo fat right now from Christmas. Good thing you can just sweat off the weight here basically.  Love you all! :) 

Sorry I have very few pictures this week... I barely did any picture taking it was such a busy week.

Elder Vincent

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Week 21

Hello everyone. So this week is finally heading up to Christmas and I am super excited to Skype you guys! :D :D But I am not excited for Christmas eve or Christmas because I am eating and eating and eating and eating...I have plans to meet with so many members. I am going to be soooo sick.

But anyway. I should tell you about my week. :D
To start out with, Elder Ormsby and I got up early this morning to go meet with a less-active member. Unfortunately, we could not find them at all. We tried calling them and found out  they're at work. That was kind of a bummer. BUT as we were looking for them, we tried searching around the area, and we found another less active family that is really struggling. So we are going back to her family to meet with them on the 24th. :D (Tomorrow I guess, wow, that's so quick)
So we went to Kuching on Friday and it was soooo fun! Jeffery picked us up from the airport and we went shopping (and he bought us curry puffs and doughnuts! :D ). Then we ate at the mall there, and then we stopped at a Christmas store that had nativity sets. There were some nativity sets that were 1000 dollars! but I got a decent sized one to bring home for you Mom. :D
He took us to the KDC chapel and we got our mail :D :D That means I got a Christmas package from Ellie and a few letters from you, mom. :D ou, and one from Diane Schow. I read them and it was all really nice. I haven't opened the package yet though. I want to wait till Christmas. :D

Then we had our Christmas conference with our mission president. It was really good, but it went 6 hours instead of 5, and the 6th hour I was just about super super tired. I really was ready to go to sleep (in fact, I couldn't stay awake for the full Christmas devotional so I need to watch that again) 

We did a service project too by helping put lots of materials into bags to go to the kids in Kuching. It was crazy cuz we had like 50 missionaries all in one place.

That night I showed the other elders the mall in Kuching. I bought a media player there and also had some amazing food there. The Blessed Church (Chinese church here) came to carol at the restaurant we were at. That was pretty cool. :D :D

So the next day we got up at 5:15 am to catch our flight at 7:10 am. Sooooo tired..... So our Christmas party at the church started at 7:30 pm, so we helped a little in preparing for it. Brother David and his family took care of most of it though (the German who married into an Iban family)
That was a really fun party. I took a lot of pictures which I'll send in a little while. :D

Mazura is a member that was going to college in Kuching, but I found out that she lives in Bintulu, and came to see her family (Brother David's family) for the week. It was really cool to see another member. I tell her that she is just following me around. 

Preston, our investigator, is doing really well. He is down to 2 cigarettes a day, which is super good. We've challenged him to stop by Christmas, which means he can be baptized on the 4th of January! :D We also blessed his wife, because she has been having a pretty hard pregnancy. 

It's been a crazy week and this week will be even crazier! I'm so excited to talk to you guys again.! Don't forget, alright? :D :D

Week 20

Hello everyone! Time to talk about another great week in Bintulu. This being my second week in Bintulu still, I'm still new and I don't know exactly what I'm doing quite yet, but it's still pretty good. :)

There is so much to write about and so little time, (or I am just too lazy to write everything down)
First off I will start with a culture prospect. there is no milk....At all...Well there is millk, but it is like 5 times more expensive than in KL and Kuching. So all we have is milk powder, which we mix with water and bam, milk. It's okay, good enough for cereal, but not for drinking. Ou well. :)

We are working with quite a few less active members. I will start with Martha!
So Martha is a member that Elder Ormsby started to reactivate in the church right before I came here. She has been really good and has a really strong testimony. We have started to teach her the lessons and we want to make her comfortable in teaching it back to us, so that she can teach her husband things. We want to try helping her with teaching her husband, but he doesn't believe in anything so missionaries in the past haven't had any success. But we will see! :) She also got me a Bible in Iban, which I am super excited about. It's almost impossible to get one of those, so I feel really lucky to have bought one. :)

Preston is our investigator, and he is the nephew of one of our less active members, but because we are teaching Preston, his whole family has become super super active, and now the uncle (Bujang) has a teaching calling. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we also talked about the Word of Wisdom. Turns out he has a problem with smoking (as does 99% of everyone here in Bintulu) but he said he wanted to stop. This is really cool because he said he smoked 20 cigarettes a day, and then 2 days later, we asked him how his smoking was, and he was down to 7 a day already. Super super awesome!!!  He's progressing quickly.

Sister Listi is a member in the other branch, but we found out she could teach us how to make stuff out of beads. We went there twice. Once, she taught us how to make chili peppers out of beads, and then the second time, she taught me how to make a neck tie (the missionaries of course love that) So I have been making a neck tie. I think it will look really cool but I'll send you a picture of the small bit that I have already done. :)

Sister Sena is another less active member, so we have been going to her house. Like I said last week, her son was having problems with his stomach, so on Monday, we found out he went to the hospital because he is having appendicitis. We went there to give him another blessing. We haven't been able to meet with her since then, though.

A couple nights ago we had a sarung night, where we wear those little skirt things that Muslims wear. We took quite a few pictures which I will try to send in a second. It was really funny because we were trying our best to do our "kampung smile" which is the term for the people's smile here. They always look super super grumpy when they take pictures. 

Ou hey did you know that Vincent was a name for a cigarette brand? One of the members always tells me that. He will say to me, "Hey how are you a missionary if you are smoking all the time?" :D :D

So this week, we are going to Kuching for a Christmas conference!! :D :D That will be on friday. We get up early for our flight at 7ish, and then we have a couple hours. Jeffery is going to pick us up to go to Rhyno, an Iban store. Then we will stay the night and come back to Bintulu. Should be great. :D :D I'm excited.

So yeah, on the 26th, I will be skyping with you guys. :) dont forget! :D Just kidding, I know you won't.

Love you guys,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week 19

Hello everyone! So this week was super crazy. I can't believe how quickly this week has gone by.
So from Tuesday, I had a couple days left in Kuching, so we basically just did everything that we wanted to before we left, because I am only there for 6 weeks. So we went to a few people's houses too. One of the members told me that there was no ice cream in Bintulu, so they tricked me into eating a ton of ice cream (they love to stuff us full of food). But there is actually ice cream here, so I don't have to worry about that.
Thursday my flight was at 2, so I still had some time. Jeffery took me out to lunch and I gave him all my pictures since I've been in the mission. I also gave him a hat and tie for memory. I really am going to miss him! He helped me out a ton in my time in Kuching and he was just so awesome!  So I was a few kilograms overweight, but they didn't charge me fortunately.  I didn't know that I wouldn't have to go through customs. I was just so used to doing it every flight that I didn't think about it. But anyway, Elder Lundquist came with me on my flight so I talked to him all the way there. The flight was an hour long, pretty short. We had such a small plane though! It was pretty cool. It was really hot in there. Air-cond wasn't on until the plane started flying.

When I got to Bintulu, Elder Stevens, the senior missionary, came to pick me and Elder Lundquist up. He is cool.  He was a teacher in China before he came on a mission with his wife. After that we immediately started meeting people. I only had time to drop off my bags at the house before we went to meet people. We stopped at the church (it's only like a 5 minute walk there) and there seems to be people there all the time. Members from The Sungai Plan branch and the Tanjung Kiderong branch both go to this church.
Our branch, TJK is not very strong. There are a lot of less active people, but hey we are working with it. We actually got 17 less active members to come to church this week!! so we had a total of 75 members come to church, including our recent convert who was baptized a couple weeks ago.

So we did a ton of things this week so I can't tell you everything, but I want to tell you about a couple things and a couple people.
First off, there is a member here named Wat. He has had a really hard life, but he is super strong. I would say he would be the "Jeffery" in this branch, but of course you can't replace Jeff ever. We go over to his house a few times and he comes with us to other people's houses to help us out. We've been reading the Book of Mormon and he ALWAYS has questions about it. He is really sweet.

Then there is Preston. He is our only investigator right now, but he has prayed about the Book of Mormon and knows that it is true. He is on a baptismal date for the 21st, but we might not make that so maybe the 28th of December. I met him last Saturday, and we will try to meet with him again on Wednesday! His family are less active, but they came to church last week and this week, and gave us 2 referrals, so that was a huge miracle.

Another miracle that we had this week was that we were going to meet with somebody, but they weren't available, so Elder Ormsby was trying to figure out who to go meet. He decided to meet a lady named Sister Sena, so we went to her house. When we arrived, we were told that she had a sick son, and she wanted us to come over. She said (in Malay/Iban) "Elders, thank you so much for coming. I wanted you to come over but I knew you were going to come over for caroling tonight, but you already knew to come." That was super cool what she said.

Uhm.... At church I met a lot of the members, but there's one that I want to mention here. There is a guy from Germany that is staying here for 2 weeks. He was a missionary here in 2002 and he married an Iban after his mission. They stay in Frankfurt, but they came to Bintulu to stay with his mother-in-law for 2 months. He has been super awesome, and has been kind enough to take us around to places on P-days. He may also help us out with Skype on Christmas cuz he has a lot of computers at home, but we will see later.

So this morning, we went to play futsal. It is like football (soccer for you American noobs) but it is played in a cage. It's pretty fun! We play it a lot apparently, and we had a few kids come with us and they killed us. They are super good at it.

And now I am emailing you guys! :) :) that's all for my week. It's been a super great week. I love my companion, Elder Ormsby. He is very excited to have me work with him and it will be a very awesome transfer. :) 

Elder Reid is also in our house. He has been out for 23 months, so he leaves on the 15th of January. He's helped out a lot and is a lot of fun to be around. Elder Shorts is his companion. He has been in Melaka for most of his mission so he hasn't spoken Malay much yet...But we have some laser pointer parties together. :D :D

I love you guys! You're awesome. :) :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week 18 - Transfers

Hey guys...So this is the end of my 2nd transfer, and I am going to Bintulu, the Tanjung Kiderung (or something like that) branch. The place seems like it will be okay, and my companion is really cool. I know him from the MTC in Utah, but I am just not looking forward to leaving everyone here so suddenly.
Uhm....So as for being sick and what not, I am fine. I actually had to go to the doctor again Tuesday for my UTI. So I went in and they did an ultra sound, and it turned out okay, I just needed an antibiotic which worked out well.
I went on splits with the Zone Leader, Elder Madsen, and we went to a couple people's houses to teach. I actually really enjoyed doing that a lot. It stressed me out cuz I wanted to look good for the Zone Leaders, but things went really well. :)
We did have a great Thanksgiving actually. It was pretty awesome. The senior couples prepared this big meal for us and it was as close to an American dinner as possible. (besides the drinks, which are 100% better than America anyway)
I will send you a picture of all the food we ate. It was good.
The days have just been so crazy and I can't think of anything besides me moving to Bintulu.
I went to Bako National Park, which is almost like an island of its own. I took a boat out to the place (but its still connected to Malaysia, just easier to get to by boat) and we played at the beach for about an hour. Then we hiked 3.5km to this waterfall. The waterfall was really disappointing though. It wasn't even really a waterfall. :( But then it was another 3.5km which was kind of tough cuz I ran out of water. Ou well.
I didn't get home until about 17:00, and it takes an hour bike ride home, so we were smelling like dogs by 18:00, and then we had a Family Home Evening at 19:00, so I didn't get to email yesterday, sadly. But here I am! I am so blank as far as my mind goes, so I'm sorry for not writing a ton. Not a lot happened this week besides those things.
Love you guys a lot and miss you!
Elder Vincent

Thanksgiving Feast Photos

Bako National Park Photos