June 1, 2011
It happened again! I am no longer in Kuching. I’m now in Miri. It’s on the opposite side of the island of from Kuching. It took me 16 hours by bus to get here. I left Monday night at 9:30 p.m. and arrived here at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. (I guess it was almost 18 hours, really.) It was so long! And I barely slept because of all the bouncing of the highways.
So here’s how I found out I was getting transferred. We got home on Friday night after visiting Brother Lim. As I was about to get into the shower when Elder Porter stopped me and said, “Oh yeah, you’re leaving on Tuesday.” It was a pretty big shock. I was sad to go. On Sunday we had four at church and three less-active families showed up for the Mandarin group. That was really cool. I guess it was good to leave on such a good note. I was really sad to leave the members in Kuching. Although some of them are a bit off, I’m closer to them than I have been to any members yet. Brother John and Sister Judy (investigators) almost cried when we left and threatened to kidnap me and put me up for ransom. (I’m not sure who would pay the ransom?)
Elder Jenkins was transferred to Sibu and is now with Elder Vance. I’m with Elder Brandon Forsyth from St. George, Utah. Elder Wood is now with Elder Aikens in a new area in Singapore. Elder Whinhan is with Elder Law in Sitiawan. Elder Teng is with Elder Jensen. This makes my fourth area in mission field before I reach the year mark and the most-traveled Chinese elder in the Singapore Mission. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. We’ll see later on I guess.
I sent a package home on Monday by boat so it should be getting there in two to three months. Watch for it. It has an Iban sword, a shield and a blowgun in it. Sending it turned out to be a major ordeal. I made my own, custom box for it, because it’s pretty big. When I arrived to ship it, they told me I had to wrap it in paper. I was like, “No I don’t. I’ve seen three other elders send stuff and it doesn’t need to be wrapped to go by boat.” They wouldn’t listen so I had to search for paper to wrap it in. I had to wait an hour and a half and then the guy “helping” me couldn’t figure out how to weigh the box. I just stared as he charged me 10 ringgit, then another 10, then 20 more. Then, another lady came and made me pay another 20 because the first guy did it wrong, three times! It was very frustrating. Dad I sent you a scripture case by air mail. Give it two weeks. It’s red. I hope you like it.
In my house here in Miri are the zone leaders, Elder McCormies – the guy that left the Batu Kawa house a complete mess in Kuching – and Elder Tyler (from Jackson Hole, Wyoming). Both of them go home next month. Elder Gottfredson is in the zone along with Elder Whittaker. The three of us were together in Singapore. Good reunion! Elder Forsyth is my new companion. He’s from St. George. I can’t tell you much about him yet, but he seems great. He also studied Chinese before his mission so I expect his language skills to be really good.
I really like Miri so far. It’s a lot like Sibu and I really prefer the small towns to the cities here. The cities are just too dirty. Most of the population is Chinese and they all speak Mandarin! Things here seem relaxed and the members have time for things. I like it a lot. I’ve heard that President Chan, the branch president of Chinese is a total stud; he helps the elders teach and takes them to lunch and all kinds of stuff. The only thing I don’t like is how long Miri is. On bike it’s about 40 minutes long and 15 minutes wide, if that much. But I love it.
Gawai Dayak started today. It’s a social and religious occasion. Gawai means ritual and Dayak is a name for the collective native ethnic groups of Sarawak. We stayed up until midnight and drank water. It’s supposed to give us strength throughout the year.
I love you guys a million!!! Miri is can! We’re gonna do some work. Have an awesome week!