June 26, 2012
June 26, 2012
June 20, 2012
“Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.”
June 13, 2012
I can’t believe I only have 12 days. I just watched all of the people from my MTC group go home. They headed out a couple weeks early. At first I wanted to go with them but at this point I’m just happy that I get to stay a bit longer.
For the news this week let’s start with the KL trip. I knew it would be my last one so we left a few hours early and met up with Elders Polley and Brown to jalan-jalan (Malaysian for “go for a walk”) a bit. Then we went to a fish spa. So crazy. You sit down and put your feet in this water filled with little fish then they all come up and start to bite your feet. It is very ticklish at first but then fades into kind of a background feeling and you can just relax. Can’t imagine we’d ever have this in the States because it’s just about the least hygienic thing I can imagine. I bought Sam a pair of knockoff Beats (headphones) and found another guy to paint my name.
Training was almost surreal. It was all about the planning and area books. We’ve been getting back to basics for about a year now and we finally reached full circle on the basic list. Well, almost I guess. A testimony is first, but if you’re thinking about serving and aren’t sure your testimony is strong enough, stop it! A mission builds your testimony more than could imagine. Just get out and do it first. Anyway, success is 80% about showing up and 20% other things.
On Saturday, after we arrived back from KL, one of the sisters’ investigators asked me to baptize him. No complaints about that.
Sunday was fun. Elder Wood and I taught with our Ward Mission Leader and spiced things up. We drew pictures and taught the principle of faith via a trust fall. Elder Wood scheduled a lesson far away later on Sunday. I found out, after the fact, that he did not confirm the appointment, so we ended up teaching the member we arranged to be there with us.
Monday was awful. Pretty much everyone we were teaching fell through, but Sean, Jeannie and Laurel are doing extremely well. If they were my only baptisms my entire mission, it would have been a huge success!
I still just feel like transfers are approaching in a couple weeks and I’m not going home. Love you guys, and see you soon!
June 6, 2012
Some big news and good stories this week so be prepared people! Let’s start with Sister Burtis, a missionary in our zone. She’s way solid. She woke up Thursday night with severe stomach pains, and had her appendix removed the next day. She is recovering and is back doing missionary work. President Clark asked me and Elder Wood to assist him in giving her a blessing so we were with him when he called her parents. Sister Burtis got on the phone after he called. At one point she covered the mouthpiece on the phone while her mom was still talking and whispered, “You really shouldn’t have called her,” then picked up the phone again and kept trying to calm her mother. Really funny.
The next day some lady called the office and requested that missionaries come to the hospital and “pray for her brother.” Elder Wood and Swingle with the guy while Elder Splendlove and I waited in the lobby. Well, I struck up a conversation with a Chinese woman and she asked if we would go and pray with her husband in another room. We did, and on our way back to the lobby a lady approached us and asked if we had permission to pray for her patients. The answer was no; I’m not even sure how do get that permission, but I did explain that we were invited to see the man we did and she apologized for bothering us. I guess she thought we were going door-to-door, praying for random people (which means that some one at some point has actually done that). The nerve of some people.
Last week this guy named Steven talked to us in Chinatown and invited us to a get together for his friends. He said most of them were Chinese Christians. So we went to some stranger’s party. It actually turned out really well. Most of the people were Chinese and really nice. We taught some good short lessons and had some boss Chinese food. Also, we got to know Steven better and he came to church and stayed for four hours! There was a fireside from some CES guy that came from Utah and Steven loved it.
Priesthood on Sunday was training about priesthood ordinances. I discovered the pharisaical tendencies of people in the Church. It’s a good thing our stake president was there to correct some strange ideas that were discussed including disposing of consecrated oil in topsoil, making sure not to consecrate too much or too little oil, not allowing the oil to touch the person’s hair while anointing, etc. If the Church didn’t have a Handbook of Instruction and standardized manuals there would be new sects popping up everywhere. Steven really enjoyed it for some reason and actually asked for a blessing after church. That’s the first time an investigator has ever asked for a blessing my whole mission.
Last night we went to Sister Liu’s house for dinner. It was with Elder Valentine because Elder Wood double-booked appointments. It turned out well. We took Laurel with us and she loved it. She loves meeting new people. It turns out that a lady baptized by Elder Teng was there. She has been getting a lot of pressure from anti-her Mormon friends. She asked questions about polygamy, why we have “another Bible”, the identity of the Spirit, the Trinity and all kinds of doctrinal questions. Now my Chinese isn’t bad at this point so I can communicate just fine, but no matter how I explained this stuff it wasn’t sinking in. Laurel also tried without success. It seemed that everything was right to have a good discussion with her. The Spirit was there, we were in a member’s home, and there was no contention. I’m afraid she has totally closed her heart to the promptings of God and anything coming from the Spirit. I finally had to stop her from looping and suggested she pray which she refused to do. I invited her to church but she said she doesn’t have time. I invited her to read. Also cannot. The scriptures tell us that we learn line upon line and precept upon precept, and then warn that if we don’t nurture our testimonies what we learned will be taken from us. I’m afraid that is exactly what happened. Her gospel hard drive rebooted and she lost everything on the screen. I left that appointment extremely disappointed at the ground she has lost. It’s going to take a miracle of considerable size before her heart is softened again. Fortunately, God has the power to do that if she will ask.
Just two more e-mails!
May 30, 2012
We went to the zoo today. It was incredible! I rode an elephant, played with some lemurs, and pet a sloth. I saw some crazy animals that I didn’t even know existed. So cool! Mom, if you ever come to Singapore you must go there. In honor of your obsession with zoos and all things zooey, I got you a shirt that says Singapore Zoo on it.
Well, I’m in a good mood today. P-day activities like that make my whole week sometimes. I’ll start uploading pictures now.
Sean is doing great; so is Laurel; and so are the rest of our investigators. Today we are going to the church to watch the full length Joseph Smith movie with some investigators and members so we’re hoping it’ll start to make a difference in their commitment levels.
May 24, 2012
Sean was baptized on Friday night and his testimony was amazing. He talked for a few minutes about the Word of Wisdom. He believes the Word of Wisdom has had a huge effect on his health, but has had even more impact on him spiritually. Just to remind, he’s the guy that went from complete atheist to a solid member of the Church in just a matter of months. We are being blessed here people!
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Twelve, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder F. Michael Watson of the Seventy, and Bishop Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishopric all came to Singapore Saturday for a special member fireside. It was way cool. After Elder Oaks finished speaking all the authorities came and had a meet-and-greet with the missionaries. Elder Hallstrom smacked me in the side of the head after I shook his hand! I was struck by a General Authority! How many people can say that?! By the way, his hands are huge! Elder Oaks went way off script. It was very personal and he made some jokes and jumped in and out of several topics. He talked about being flexible and change as a principle of the gospel. He then talked about equality. He said many are convinced that everyone should be equal. He said that equality is an important principle, but only up to a certain point. Once you start pressing equality in everything, it turns into a problem and starts to corrupt society. I thought it was a fresh view on an interesting issue. Apostles are pretty smart guys, I think.
[We found out later that the following day Elder Oaks presided over the creation of the Hyderabad India Stake, the first stake ever created in India. He was by Elders Hallstrom and Anthony D. Perkins of the Seventy.]
Today is the first relaxing P-day we’ve had in a long while. It has been really nice. I took a nap and read some scripture and played a bit of basketball this morning. Not too bad. We’re gonna be headed to the zoo next week. And President told us today about an international seafood buffet around here that costs less than a chili crab! Gonna get me som ‘o dat!
Just five weeks left! I just can’t really bring myself to believe it.
Love you all!
May 16, 2012
Since we Skyped on Sunday (and because I really don’t have time), I’m not going to send you an e-mail. However, here are some photos of the past week.
Elder Spendlove caught a Green Crested Lizard. It is usually bright green with a tinge of blue on its head. When threatened, it turns brown. The photo doesn’t show it but the tail is more than 75% of its body length.