December 10, 2010
Instead of a regular P-day on Wednesday, we traveled to Kucing (it might be spelled “Kuching” everywhere else on earth) for training. Just 10 minutes into our ride there our bus broke down, so we came back and had to wait another three hours before we left. We finally arrived in Kuching at about 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday night and grabbed a taxi to go to the house where we were staying. Little did we know that the house was in a different state another 40 minutes away, a place called Kota Samarahan. Our driver didn’t speak English or Mandarin; only Fuzhou and Malay. Since everyone in our cab was a Chinese-speaking missionary, it was rather difficult trying to tell him where to go, especially because we didn’t know ourselves.
Training was awesome. I always love to hear from our leadership. I have now had training in Singapore, Kuala Lampur, and Kuching, and I’ve been asked to bear testimony at each of them. (President Clark thought that was pretty funny when I told him.) We got back to Sibu at about 3:15 a.m. this morning after an eight hour bus ride, so he gave us a P-day today.
We found out that Whinham is getting transferred today to Sitiawan, West Malaysia. So, Elder Lim is gonna jump into a threesome with me and Elder Vance. Can! It was good to see Elder Whinham, that little monster, for a bit. Sibu is just one area again. That means more lessons and less contacting. Also can!
Elder Vance is really a great guy. He’s from Sandy, Utah, but was born in Korea and was adopted as a baby. He has two older sisters (both white), two younger sisters (one black one black/Korean), and one black younger brother. All of them are adopted. Vance played lacrosse for the Jordan Beetdiggers. We stomped them every time we played, but he seems like he is actually pretty good. I really like serving with him. Our zone leaders are Elder Ng-Woon, whom we call “Kiwi” because he’s from New Zealand, and Elder Pingel from Illinois. Kiwi goes home next Tuesday so he’s pretty trunky. Whereas I’ve been sleeping halfway under another bed, Kiwi has had a queen-sized bed all to himself. Darn him! There is only one shower for the six of us in our house.
As for food, we eat in a lot but usually eat out for dinner. The food is much different than it was in Singapore. I’ve eaten with a lot of Ibans since I’ve been here. They always serve us a ton of food and, unless it’s curry, it isn’t very good. Frequently, it’s just crushed wild grass and rice, and you have to finish it or they get offended.
Ibans have a slow culture. Their “houses” usually consist of one room where everyone sleeps. Then they put the pads against a wall during the day so they can watch satellite TV. Everyone has a satellite but most of them have it illegally. They pay the setup fee to get the satellite hooked up and then stop paying. For some reason they continue to receive a signal.
Malays run the government. Chinese run the economy. Ibans relax and do some manual labor every now and then. Everyone is very segregated.
Everyone we teach live in rows of town houses like the one we live in. And they all parade the fact that they’re Chinese so everyone knows. It makes finding them easy.
I’m totally used to the smell in Sibu. Did you know that fish live in the sewer gutters? Those are some hardy little buggers.
We now have five people on date for baptism. One family (minus the dad) and a guy named Kevin. Kevin smokes, is about 23, has a really deep voice, and his house is covered with action figures. It’s funny. He should be a gangster. Instead, he’s a nerd. But he asked for a copy of the Restoration DVD and I’m really excited for him. Teaching the Word of Wisdom might be a bit tough, though.
Elder Vance is having his parents call him on the 25th, so it will be the 26th for us. Why don’t you call me on Christmas Eve around 11:00 p.m. your time?
Miss you like crazy, Emilee, Sam, Mary, Mom, and Dad. I love you!