Ok, this week has been nuts. First, let me tell you about Elder Teng. He’s from China. A city called Dalian, I think. He works hard, but we definitely have some cultural differences. He is sometimes critical of others and the glass is usually half empty instead of half full. I can’t help but laugh at him most of the time because his English sounds so dang funny. He cannot say the letter “L”. Physically cannot. So funny. I do love him a lot. He is trying really hard to be more patient. He’s funny about the Singaporeans. He says they’re rude and they swear at him and all kinds of things I have yet to see. Really, though, he’s a good guy.
It’s weird emailing right now without the big red timer going. This is almost relaxing.
Everything else is going well. Let me see if I can give you a quick overview of the past week. Wednesday was crazy. So much happened. After the contacting I told you about we had dinner and a devotional at President Clark’s house. Everyone was so tired. Elder Martin, a Malay elder was sitting next to me, and I probably woke him up eight times. He was asleep again in 10 seconds. After that we went to a senior couples’ house to sleep. Everyone calls it the Pasir Pajang House. It’s 30 minutes away and I don’t remember a single second of the trip. In fact, that entire night escapes me. I fell asleep as soon as I got into the car and I don’t remember anything until I woke up the next morning.
Thursday we had training all day long. And I really mean all day. We went to get ice cream with a recent convert at Bugis around 6:00 p.m. then had dinner with all of the ward missionaries at 7:00 or 8:00. For the most part it seemed like a waste of two hours, but I did get to talk with a little girl named Danielle. She was born in Utah and moved here when she was five. Perfect English, awesome Chinese, and hilarious Singlish. Danielle reminded me so so so much of Emilee. It made me miss her a lot. Same sense of humor; same in that she was super shy at first then couldn’t stop telling me things. Very fun.
On the topic of Singlish, I love it. It’s basically Chinese directly translated to English with Malay words in there. The universal affirmative phrase here is “can”. Here are some examples:
- “Hey do you want to get Indian food tonight? Can.”
- “Where do you want to go, Lao Beijing or Little India? Both can.”
- “What about a hawker? Also can.”
- “Well, what food do you want to get? Anything can!”
That’s an honest conversation I had with Teng. I find that when I speak with him my English goes way downhill. I will learn Singlish before I leave.
We had morning training then New Missionary Training. It was two days late but still good. I had already heard most of what he told us, but it was still cool to hear.
In Singapore, missionaries have no restrictions on who we can teach, but we need President Clark’s approval to baptize a Muslim. In Malaysia ther are strict laws about teaching Muslims. Cannot, cannot ever teach a Muslim, one. (There’s a bit of Singlish for you).
We teach a lot of lessons here. I’ve probably helped teach like 10 or 12 already. I say “helped” because I have no idea what’s going on most of the time. When Teng speaks, he slurs everything and doesn’t pronounce most of his words. That’s the kind of accent he has. Unintelligible.
Saturday was our first day of real work. We contacted for several hours then taught lessons. We did the same thing on Monday and Tuesday. In fact that’s what we normally do.
Sunday was fun. We go to two wards: one at 8:30, then one at noon. The one at noon is a Mandarin ward. I liked them both a lot. I’ve found that Elder Teng knows very little about the workings of the Church. After he argued with the ward mission leader and bishop in the same day I had to explain that we have no jurisdiction within a ward and that we do what the leaders say, not the other way around. Also I bore my testimony in the Mandarin ward and I think it was pretty good. Later, I also introduced myself. I was trying to say “I’m the oldest sibling,” but instead I said “I’m the most important.” That got a good laugh out of everyone.
Now for the fun stuff, I’ve had probably five fruits already that I’ve never tried: dragonfruit, starfruit, rambutan, a weird little banana-thing, and some other little fruit that I can’t describe. All very good.
The food here is great. I haven’t had anything bad yet. I did eat a fish eye yesterday, but it was hard and flavorless. Oh, I just went to a Buddhist temple and Hindu temple. They are about 50 feet away from each other. There are so many cultures here, it’s great.
The Asians here think I’m almost 30. I’ve heard 28 three times, 25 once, and one ward member asked me if I had children. I just laugh. If I look older, they listen better.
Well, I have to e-mail President Clark now. I love you all so much! The Church is true.