Monday, July 28, 2014

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfiltri, saudara dan saudari!

Happy Raya Day, brothers and sisters! (It doesn't really translate very well in English...)
Just imagine a bunch of of Muslims going off a month-long fast and then you understand how every single store is completely run out of food.
This week was pretty good. Our work was a little slow cuz we have to be back home by 6pm, but our investigators are doing super super great. They had their son over for the last time we taught them, and they invited him to learn with them. The daughter wants to learn too, but she is having difficulties getting over the Sabah border. (not that she is illegal or anything, but Sabah isn't too friendly to Philippines right now) The three of them came to church and the mother tried to pay tithing, even though we haven't taught her about it yet haha.
President and Sister Mains came on Friday, so throughout the week we made the house super super clean, and we meant to keep it that way after they left, but that's not what they had in mind. They had known beforehand the senior couple left a bunch of stuff at our house in boxes, and they took those boxes out and for 3 hours we went through it and sorted out what to throw away and what to give to members. Our house is in shambles right now, as we're trying to sort out the stuff we sorted through. President bought us Pizza Hut though, and threw down 100 ringgit. That was awesome. 
Hari Raya is today, and we went to some Muslim's houses and ate at their place for a while. Literally making us sick... But it was fun too. Never been in a Muslim's house for real. And...that is about it. :)
Elder Vincent



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 21, 2014

Hey I meant to write this and now I'm running out of time. Sorry, this will be short.

This week was great as usual. slowing down a bit, which is kind of a bonus actually cuz I've been so tired in the last few weeks. So anyway, this week we've been still working with some less actives and investigators. One of our less actives was really awesome. After several months of not coming to church, he came and he conducted (yes there are such things as less active 1st counselors in malaysia) the sacrament meeting like a boss. Then after church he told me that he was thankful for me on not giving up on him and always inviting him to church.
Our investigators are still good, really interested in learning, just having some troubles getting them to church. Doesn't help they live in the outskirts of town, far from the church, but we also met with these investigators once, and a member we are working with happened to be there, so it was a free member present lesson without any work on our part. He was a huge help and shared his testimony with our investigator. Yay! :)
And.... That's about all that I can think of. Sabah is under a 6pm curfew, so most of our nightly work is cut. It's for 2 weeks, so that means 2 weeks for me to get penned in my house and go crazy. Not a huge fan of staying in the house... Scary stuff going on as far as wars and stuff. Everything will be okay though. :) After all, we all will be resurrected and be together forever, right? :)
hopefully that comment doesnt scare anyone, lol

Elder Vincent

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

I honestly feel like I was emailing a couple days ago, but here we are back to Monday, already starting Week 3 in Sandakan. Oh well.
Another week down, and two weeks to go until my year mark. Pretty exciting stuff going on lately, but as I say a lot, I'm tired. Lots of walking and hiking up hills and my body definitely isn't used to it yet.
But the work here is good. We do actually have some investigators. Not just kids, thankfully. :) (I hear back in Bintulu they just got another 9 year old referral, lololol) Our main investigators right now are a couple that live actually pretty far away from the church, but for some how after meeting them and teaching them about the plan of salvation, they came 2 hours early.
However, they also heard about some sad news. The wife and a mother of a great family died this past Friday, and this morning we had the funeral for her. Super sad experience... :( But we know she is in a better place now. :)
The zone leaders flew in for splits and I had Elder Lundquist follow us, which is super awesome. He is from my group back in the MTC. That day was probably the hardest for me, because we were literally jumping from place to place all day long, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every corner and stone of Malaysia. </cheesy mormon saying>
Uhm... Also I met the one and only Iban member and had fun speaking Iban with her. :) I still speak it with Elder Jahali. It's actually one of our little secrets. Don't speak Malay to each other around other people. Iban only. Confuses the crap out of people.
Hmm.... And...that's about it for this week. We finally got our phone? But it's almost out of credit too haha. And yup that's it love you guys! :)

Elder Vincent


Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014 - Emotional Goodbyes to My Bintulu Family

Hey guys I am in Sabah now, a very beautiful country of it's own. And I say that not because Sabah is it's own country, but how different it is from everything else. Try thinking of a highly populated Muslim country, where you meet a bunch of Filipinos and the shops look like they're from Thailand. It's pretty foreign from anything I've been to, so I guess I'm taking a 3-4 month break from Malaysia and I'm in the Philippines for a while. :)
Anyway, this week has been a pretty intense week emotionally and physically. First of all the departure from Bintulu. I have never been so torn from someone before having to leave Bintulu. On Monday and Tuesday I was able to keep myself together, even though Evelyn my recent convert cried as I was saying my good byes with her.
Monday night, which was my bday, we had family home evening over at Martha's house.  Mazura made me a cake made out of potatoes, which I thought was fitting seeing I'm from Idaho, lol. That was a kind gesture though. :)
Tuesday I spent some time with Semia and Robecca and Mazura. They asked me to cook cookies with them one more time before I left. That was a lot of a fun, especially getting heckled for the last time before I went to Sabah.  They also asked me to come over for dinner that night, and so I went off to see Evelyn first and then went back. (that's the hard part for Tuesday, trying to explain how missionaries have to leave eventually.  She feels abandoned.  I called her today though and she is doing a little bit better) 
For dinner that night, they went pretty all out. They got the most expensive rice for me and some of the most expensive chicken from a restaurant similar to KFC. They're so awesome. :)
Then Wednesday I literally went everywhere. I could list everyone's names, but I realize that names don't really mean much to you guys, but needless to say I was all over the place.
My last two houses were Bujang's and Martha's. I stayed at Bujang's for maybe half an hour. They gave me ice cream on a bun (a popular thing in Malaysia)...So just to let you know, Bujang is the father-in-law of one of my recent converts. I saw this family go from less active to one of the strongest families in the branch. I was able to hold myself together until I said the closing prayer, in which I couldn't help myself from crying.. Then went to Martha's one last time, and they wanted to play games with me, so we played some games, and then as I was saying goodbye to Martha, I cried for probably half an hour. I sound like a baby, don't I?  But seriously this is my family in Bintulu. Something that happens when you stay in an area forever is you get super attached to the people... 

The worst part was they had a party for Stewart and Shorts (the other 2 elders moving), and so I came in the church trying to maintain myself, but then they started singing Allah Sertamu Selalu (God be with you) and I just couldn't maintain myself. It was a pretty rough departure. I've never met a people so loving and caring in my life. Ibans are truly the best...

So Martha helped me to the airport on Thursday morning. she gave me a book of remembrance with a bunch of notes to remember her by, and also a little beaded decoration that I can put in my car or just on the wall. (still looking for a place to hang it)...She's the best. Gonna miss her a lot.

The plane ride was nothing to mention, although I must say that the airport in Sandakan is the jankiest airport ever. It is so broken down, and I even saw a bat fly in the roof.
My new companion, Elder Jahali is awesome. Super funny too. When we're together, things get pretty interesting. He is also a super huge help in learning Malay and Iban cuz I have to figure out how to say things around the house that I've never had to think about saying when teaching people. So it's a good learning experience.
He says he'll help me get super good at Iban in the next 3 months. 
Speaking of which, I might just be here for 4 months, that's the average for most missionaries in Sandakan. Not very long.
So...we don't have a phone right now.  Elder Madsen accidentally took it to the airport with him, and he left it with the zone leaders in Kota Kinabalu (KK), so we gotta wait till Thursday for the zone leaders to come.
So many times we just had to walk to people's places with no set appointment, and usually they are busy, but sometimes they've let us in. It's been a very long, tiring week. I haven't walked this much in a very long time. 
The branch is good too. Maybe not as naughty as Bintulu though, but it's a lot easier to work with them. There are a few return missionaries too that are willing to help. One of them speaks broken Spanish with his family, so I've gotten to speak some Spanish too.  Time to dust off that Spanish in my brain.
The majority of the branch is Filipino and Chinese.  There are some other mixes in there of native people like Dusun and Kadazan, but its mostly Filipino, so we actually use a lot of English here. 

uhm.... yeah that's about it. Today for p-day we already played badminton and futsal. I got destroyed in badminton (playing against people that play every single day probably) but we won in futsal, which was super super fun. I'm getting better at it. :)

anyway that's it... it's getting pretty late. its almost 4pm already. see you guys later. :)