September 17, 2010
This is my first hand-written letter from Singapore, so that’s pretty sweet, right?
Well, I’m learning some important lessons in the mission field. Babying your children their entire life doesn’t do them any favors. Being constantly pampered at home can be a rude awakening in the field. Well, now that I’ve vented I feel a bit better. Can you believe I really miss Elder Whinham?
I really enjoy Singapore. I like the MRT, the atmosphere, the food and some of the people are pretty cool too. We have some great missionaries here in Singapore.
There are two other Chinese-speaking missionaries here in Singapore, and they are the zone leaders, Elders Nightingale and Rothwell. They’re both extremely supportive. Elder Nightingale was actually Elder Teng’s companion before I was. Elders Pulver and Skanchy are the Assistant’s to the President; they live next door to Nightingale and Rothwell. My other roommates are Elders Harvey and Schone. Harvey is very funny. Schone wants to be a linguist. He speaks Spanish, German, Malay, Chinese, Hebrew and Greek. I’m not sure how well he speaks all of those languages, but he says he can.
There are also Elders Sorenson and Martin, and the office elders, Elder Gottfriedson and Kelly. I like them all a lot. Elder Sorenson in particular is extremely funny. And Elder Gottfriedson (we just call him Elder Gott) could be a Dixon. Looks and sounds like Cameron. Speaking of the Dixons, I miss Hayden. I think that other than Bo, I’ve known him longer than anyone else. I love that kid.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I am. I mean, come on! I’m on a mission. Sometimes I feel like I should still be at Hyde Park, walking to Ms. Atkinson’s science class. Seriously, it’s so weird. It gets almost overwhelming at times if I think too much about it. High school seems so easy compared to this experience. Can I just have mom make me Pop Tarts in the morning? Life would be so much easier if I could just live at home for a few more years, like until I’m 60! Please?
What I really find comfort in now is the Plan of Salvation. I’m not just saying this because it’s what missionaries are supposed to do. It makes me feel so much better knowing that we’ll be a family forever. Forever! That’s a word that means a lot more when you begin to wish you had more time to spend with your family. I’m very thankful for the Plan of Salvation right now.
The work here is progressing, if slowly. Most of the baptisms that they’ve had in the Chinese Ward have gone inactive. Elder Teng really pushes people to follow the commandments, and while that’s a good thing, it can also have a negative effects if pushed too far. I try to live Preach My Gospel as closely as possible, but it’s hard to change those entrenched in one way of doing something. Our teachers in the MTC cautioned us about having ideas that are contrary to those taught in Preach My Gospel and I’ve really taken that to heart. You can’t argue with the prophets about doctrine.
We have English classes every Tuesday night. Those are fun. I always start by giving out English names to kids that don’t have them yet. Sometimes they pick their own. I met a girl named Elda and another named Echo. A guy last night chose “Sven” as his English name. Who cares that it’s actually German or Norwegian? After introductions, we usually move to some specific subject like directions or clothing or food. Then we close with story time. It’s a listening activity where I tell a story and they have to translate it to Chinese. I always tie it back into the gospel and close with my testimony.
I like teaching lessons a lot more than contacting. House-wise, I feel like I’m losing it sometimes. Our electric bill for August doubled everyone else’s so we’ve been trying to cut back. But it’s impossible when everyone leaves lights on, doors open and the air conditioner on. I feel like I’m OCD sometimes because of how frustrated that kind of thing makes me. I wonder where I get it from . . . ?
The food here is great. I have a newfound love for Chinese food and Indian food, but Elder Teng really, really likes Chinese food. I think his family is very wealthy. He always wants to spend $20 SGD ($15 US) on meals, but to stay within our support budget, we can only spend $16 SGD ($12 US) a day, total. That includes MRT (i.e., transportation) and groceries. I’ve really had to put my foot down about eating cheap. He doesn’t like it one bit.
I’m basically in a perpetual state of tired, but it’s fitting for missionaries and I fall asleep really quickly at night so it isn’t a bad thing.
This letter has been extremely sporadic and I apologize for that. I love running into members of the Expatriots Ward. And, speaking of the Expat Ward, I saw the mother of one of my friends from BYU. Claire Bradford is her name, I think. Her parents moved here about two weeks before I arrived. She wanted to have me over for dinner, but I’m still waiting.
And now that I’m on the subject of BYU, I miss that place! Most fun ever. I can’t wait to go back. Then again, I don’t want to because I don’t want to have start life.
It sounds like I’m a wreck right now. I’m really not. I just need to get settled into things and then I’ll be good to go.
I can’t believe I’ve already been on my mission for over three months, can you? I also can’t believe I’ve almost been in Singapore for a month. I’m excited to see whether I’ll got to Malaysia next transfer. It sounds like it’s very different than Singapore. I guess the people are much more humble there.
There is so much more I could say, but I have the Lord’s work to get back to. I love you all so much more than I can say. I really am blessed beyond reason to have you all. I can feel your prayers blessing me. I pray for you every day.
Again, I really do love you all. I love you, Dad. I love you, Mom. I love you, Mary. I love you, Sam. I love you, Emilee. I love the dogs too.
P.S. There is a guy next to us that has a miniature schnauzer, so I see him almost every day. So I’m reminded of home constantly.
P.P.S. Please don’t worry about me. I’m more than fine. J
P.P.P.S. I just realized that this letter sounds fairly negative. I was just in a sour mood. I feel awesome now.