January 26, 2011
This week Elder Lim and I were hiding from rain and decided to order drinks. It was late afternoon and all the workers were sitting at a table staring at us. Whenever we sit down, they immediately begin trying to decided amongst themselves which one speaks the best English. He becomes the “chosen one” to take our order. It’s a bit like sending a dog with opposable thumbs to build a house. It just doesn’t work. Here’s how it went:
- Me: I’ll have a water.
- Malaysian: … Uh …
- Me: Um, satu wata (“wata” is not the Malay word for water; just “water” in a Malay accent).
- Malaysian: Uh … sky juice?
- Me: … Um … Sky juice? Yeah, I guess.
And then he brought me water. Yes, folks, in Malaysia water is called “sky juice.”
In other things this week, the assistants called our zone leaders and told Elder Vance that he needed to fast for Sibu because our numbers are absolutely terrible. So that has me worried that unless things change they may pull a Chinese companionship out of here. Based on the way things went this past month, there just isn’t justification to keep four Mandarin-speaking missionaries in Sibu.
Well, after that little phone call, Elder Lim and I decided that we need to pray and get down to business. And we did. Two members of the Ting family are now on date; Xiangqi and his sister, Meilan. But then again, that may change when they ask their mother today. We’ll see. We also had a member-present lesson! President Chua went with us to teach the Tings and it helped a lot. I found out that Mr. Ting is actually a really smart guy. The thing is, he barely speaks Mandarin, only Fuzhou and Fuzhou compared to Mandarin is more different than English and Spanish. During the lesson, I brought up baptism and, like most people, they couldn’t understand why they needed to be baptized again. Well, I’m tired of skirting around people’s feelings to make the truth easier to bear. There have been many, many times in the past week when I’ve just wanted to start crying repentance unto the people. So I said something like this: “Because our church has been restored through a living prophet, and has the keys to the priesthood of God. No other church has these keys, including the church you were baptized in. Your previous baptism is null and void, and without purpose. You need to be baptized by someone holding that all-important priesthood authority. Understand?”
And then I was blown away. They were like, “Yeah, okay. That makes sense.” So two things were brought to pass. I realized it’s true that you should never be ashamed about telling the truth, especially one as important as this. Also, our prayers were answered. We now have two on date, five referrals (the rest of the Ting family whom we didn’t know existed) and we found another family to teach right after that. This new family is actually just a young husband and wife, and they’re awesome! Gary Feng and his wife. So Elder Lim contacted Gary and talked with him for a good 30 minutes. Gary is a J-dubb (Jehovah’s Witness) and stopped going to church because he didn’t like not celebrating holidays. He says he celebrates holidays for fun, not to worship himself, which I understand. We showed him 2 Nephi 2:25: “Men are that they might have joy.” Think about that for a second … our very existence is to have joy. And the gospel is how you find it. So we came back for a lesson with him on Monday and found out a few things. One, he has an Xbox 360, but no Xbox Live since the only games you can buy here are pirated and therefore aren’t live-enabled. Two, Asians don’t like milk or anything to do with it. He brought out this bomb chocolate pound cake and said they didn’t want it because it tasted like milk. No, it tasted like America! And three, he’s ready to receive the gospel. He asked awesome questions, participated, and even invited us back the next day before his wife left to Melaka for training. Sadly, he had to work overtime the next day so we didn’t didn’t get to see him. But still it was good.
We’ve been so blessed to find this much success. Elders Vance and Aikens have been really down because they’ve had seven appointments cancel in just two days and they haven’t had new investigators in a long time. But they’re praying and I have faith that they’ll find success too.
Side note. The English word, “typhoon”, comes from the Chinese word, “tai” (meaning “heavy” or “too much”) and “feng” (meaning “wind”). In Cantonese it actually sounds like “typhoon” and not like “tie-fung”.
Fun things this week. Elder Porter is now here. He’s our new zone leader. He’s a good guy. He’s from Delta, Utah. The one thing with him … he found a poster of Michael Jackson during the first week of his mission and takes it to every new area and hangs it on the wall. Now it’s in our house and it’s hideous. Just terrible. It must be from Thriller because MJ looks like a dang zombie. So yesterday morning our neighbors, a little girl named “Eve” and her brother, “Adam” (so cliché), came busting through our front door. I was reading my scriptures and was like, “What the crap? Eve get out. You can’t be in here.” So she walked back onto our porch. (We get along really well with the neighbors on both sides of us, including all the neighborhood kids.) She stood there, looking in through the doorway, so I got up to see what she wanted. She said, “Is that a boy or girl on the wall?” I lost it. I was like, “Yeah, I don’t know either. Your guess is as good as mine.” So funny!
This week I saw a 5’ or 6’ long lizard in the gutter while we were riding to the Tings. It scared the crap out of me. Turns out it was a monitor lizard and it was flippin’ huge!!!!! So cool. It looked like a Komodo Dragon. I was only about five feet from him before he he ran away.
Finally, while contacting on Monday, we found this red flower and Elder Lim told me you can drink the nectar from it. I followed his lead and it was surprisingly good. What he didn’t tell me is that it would make my mouth numb for about 15 minutes. I only had two drops but it still made my tongue totally numb. It was cool. I want some mo’! No, I’m kidding. I’m not addicted to tongue-numbing flower nectar. Till next week!