November 24, 2010
Hopefully you understand the subject line. Toto and Otto have the same letters.
Well, it happened everyone. I’m in Sibu (pronounced see-boo), and it’s nuts here. I’ve gone from a 1st world, booming business capital, to a 2nd (or maybe 3rd) world country. Everywhere we go there is a sewer smell, but it isn’t that bad.
I still don’t have a bike and probably won’t get one until Friday because the senior couple that will take me to buy it is busy until then. I’ve been using an old, red, nasty little thing, but it works so it’s all good. I really don’t know much about the area yet since I’ve only been here for about 18 hours. Food? Not a clue. People? No idea, but I do know that I’ll be knocking doors for the first time on my mission. No more mall contacting for me.
Lemme tell you about my companion, Elder Vance. He’s from Jordan, Utah. He’s of Korean descent and is adopted. He has two white sisters, a black sister, and a black brother. Now that’s a diverse family! He’s way chill, which is a dramatic difference from my former companion. I’m not sure about how he works or teaches yet, but I’ll definitely let you know.
Geez, it seems like this entire e-mail is laced with I-don’t-knows and I’m-unsures. Sorry about that, but I feel like I’m starting a whole new mission. I wonder how many missions in the world include both 1st and 2nd world countries, or two countries for that matter. How many missionaries can fly for two hours and still be within mission boundaries?
I am a bit worried about the obedience level in this zone. We’re so far removed and so alone that some missionaries think the rules don’t apply to them. I’ve already heard rap music and seen some crazy stuff, but I’m convinced that a good example goes a long way. There’s no way I’m going to be an apostate missionary. (Anyone who get’s up late or breaks the small rules is “apostate”, but this zone seems to really take the title to heart.) We’ll see.
The branch here is 15 people strong, four of whom are the missionaries. We had about 80 attending the Mandarin ward in Singapore. To think that the four of us will make up more than one-fourth of the branch membership is crazy, right?
I’m in a house with Elder Lim (the new guy waiting for his American visa), Whinham (yep we’re back together – he says hi), Vance, our district leader (he says thanks for the Christmas stocking) and the zone leaders, Ng-Woon (from New Zealand – we call him “Kiwi”) and Pingle. The house is a lot of fun.
After this we’re headed out for my first game of futsol (pronounced foot-saul). It’s like soccer, but shrunk. Mini ball, mini field and mini goals. And with Whinham playing, mini people too!
Last night I had dinner at an Iban’s house. Homemade curry. So good, but they also gave us this grass-looking stuff, which was no good. I found out later that it was actually grass … wild grass. The Iban’s pick it, grind it up in some water and serve it over rice. Honestly people, stick to the curry. They served us some fish stuff too. Spicy. I think it was carp. And I think the fish came from the same place where the sewage smell is coming from. Oh, the joy of Malaysia!
Ooh, happy Thanksgiving everyone! I won’t be celebrating it here. Luckily, I celebrated it twice last week in Singapore so it’s all good.
Yes, I did get my baptism before I left, bringing the total up to eight (two of whom are now inactive). It’s really important to make sure someone is ready before you baptize them, but you also want them baptized so they can experience the blessings that come from receiving the Holy Ghost. It’s a fine line that you have to follow to make the call.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you. Elder Schone was hit by a car last Thursday. It wasn’t his fault. He’s in pretty serious condition. He broke both arms, both wrists, his femur in two places, shattered his kneecap and tore his aorta. He’s in a coma but the doctors believe it’s just a matter of time before he comes out of it. Mom, I know what you’re thinking. Stop. I’ll be fine. Elder Schone was in the most dangerous biking area in the mission, and he had only learned to ride two weeks prior to the accident. I sent you the update from President Clark so you can see how much of a miracle it is that he’s alive and how the Lord protects missionaries.
I did receive my Christmas packages, but there’s some bad news. I took two of the three presents with me onto the plane as carry-ons to save weight. One of those was the shaving cream you sent, so they took it at the airport and ruined my Christmas. I’ve decided the Malaysian airport people are the Grinch’s henchmen. Everything else is totally fine.
I apologize for this random and unorganized e-mail. Sorry. Next week will be better. Love you all so much. The Church is true! Happy Thanksgiving!