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. :)


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