October 15, 2010
Ok, I’ll start from the beginning. After I e-mailed you last week, I was informed that we would be taking a three mile run the next morning through the Singapore Nature Reserve. And I was stoked. I’ve been in the big city for over a month now and was excited to see something different. So we got up early, got to the church and Elder Carpenter (a senior elder) drove us to the Reserve where we met President Clark. Then we went on our way. It was absolutely pouring rain. Pouring. We were honestly running through pools of water in the middle of a jungle. It was uphill the entire way. Not sure how that’s even possible, but apparently it’s illegal for things to be downhill in East Asia, or something. (That was an attempt at a joke.) Well, half way through the run we all got to this huge tower — all 18 missionaries and President Clark. So, we climbed to the to top and we listened to a talk on the Restoration and Joseph Smith. Then we had a chance to bear testimony and went on our way again. There’s a power in getting away from everything. The tower was high enough that we could see the entire jungle. It was so dense it looked like I could have walked on the canopy. Then we ran back to the mission home. Turns out the three miles was actually 7.5 miles. So hard, but so worth it.
I finally got to see General Conference. This was the first conference I remember that I was absolutely crazy about. It seemed like every single talk had special significance to me out here and it was awesome. My favorite was President Uchtdorf’s on slowing down and not making yourself unnecessarily stressed. Hearing from prophets and apostles of the Lord is amazing. I think it’s something you can’t fully appreciate until you’re older maybe…
Well, we left Monday afternoon for Kuala Lumpur. We left at 3:00 p.m. and arrived at about 9:00 p.m. The bus we took is called Aeroline. It’s like riding first class on an airplane. Such big comfy seats, a big ole TV, in-drive meals. So spoiled. Also, we had to change over our money. I brought $50 Sing from my monthly account and another $50 Sing personal. It’s lasted me the whole time. One dollar Sing is like 2.5 rinkit (Malaysia money) but the actual numerical value for things doesn’t change so everything here is super cheap.
I bought a “Rolex” for $18 USD with a two year guaranty. It’s automatic (meaning it doesn’t take batteries). Haha! I think I’ll send it home to Sam or something.
When we actually got to KL we had to get a taxi to drive to the place where we’re staying. The taxi drivers here try to rip you off so bad. They wanted 60 rinkit for a 10 rinkit trip. We basically told them to buggar off and leave us alone. Then we actually got a fair price. That night was easy. Good sleep.
Then we had training for the next three full days. They best way to get from the first place we stayed to the church was via jungle pathway. We had to go through bushes, over old cars, and at one point we had to cross a river by walking ten feet over this 2×4 that spanned the banks. So cool. It makes me sad that I didn’t get any pictures of it.
Here’s a cool story. At the place I got my watch, this guy tried to sell me a sex movie. I just pushed past him and told him to leave me alone, but he kept following me, calling me gay and saying I wasn’t a real man and all kinds of stuff. Well, this older Chinese guy that was sitting down grabbed my arm and stopped me. I was thinking “How much trouble can I get in for beating the crap out of a street vendor?” But the old guy read my name tag (it’s in full Chinese now) and said to the vendor, “Yesu… No! Cannot. He is Jesus man. You go away!” And away he went. I realize now that he was one of the angels that President Clark talked to us about; someone in your life you don’t know that helps you in a way no one else would. It was a very cool experience. And it just made me even more happy to speak Chinese.
Let me tell you about Elder Teng’s watch quest. Since I arrived in Singapore he has been trying to find a nice watch. We probably waste an hour every other day looking at them. So when he got here, he was on a mission to find a watch. We went to Petaling Street (cheap vendor place) and he was off, trying to find “de high qualty watch.” This turned out to be a three hour ordeal. He’s worse than shopping with a girl! We spent an hour at the same shop, and he finally settled on a 90 rinkit piece-of-junk Armani watch. Well, on our way back he decided it was uncomfortable so we went back for another 30 minutes. All they did was slide it up his arm a little. So by this point it was 10:00 p.m. We were already late, but we caught the train, then a bus, then started walking and, by the time it hit 11:00 p.m., we were lost. And Kuala Lumpur is nuts. There are packs of wild dogs at night and stuff like that. We knew the vicinity of the apartment, but not which building it was, and there were about 10 buildings that looked all the same. I was scared out of my mind. I really don’t think I ever remember feeling that way before. The Spirit wasn’t with us because we were out too late. We were lost, and there was a group of five Malaysian guys following behind us, speaking Malay. Honestly, I was terrified. Teng was convinced he knew where we were going, but I could tell he didn’t. So I said a quick prayer, and suddenly I knew exactly where we were going. I took off in a different direction, making Teng follow (which he wasn’t happy about), cut through a junk yard, jumped a wall, and then we were home. The Spirit is incredible! I really believe that we were protected that night. I felt the support of the ministering angels that Dad promised me. If we just take some time and look, we can see how many miracles we really have in our lives. It’s an everyday thing. Some are just bigger than others.
I know that the Church is true. I know that serving the Lord for two years is the best decision I’ve ever made. I can feel your prayers helping me out here, and I’m very grateful for them. I pray for you all everyday. If anyone reading this is thinking about serving a mission, I can promise than the Lord will bless you more than you can possibly imagine. I can promise that as a representative of Jesus Christ. I love you all!