October 7, 2011
Sorry my e-mail is late but I took another trip to Sibu for MLT (Mission Leadership Training) and just got back this morning a little after midnight. I hate the buses here. They are horrible. On the way there I was by myself. I started the trip with the row to myself but the bus eventually filled up and a big girl sat next to me and was in my grill. I was pressed up against the window and she was encroaching well into my space. Fun. She got off in Bintulu and I took a deep breath. She no sooner got off before a family of five that purchased only three seats got on. Their 10-year sat next to me. He was very well behaved but on the other side of the aisle were his two little sisters. One pooped her pants twice in four hours and the other played with a high decibel, obnoxious Barbie phone for the next four hours. You know me, I sleep when I’m in transport. The seat I was in wasn’t built for someone of my torso size. There was a bar right that hit me right across my shoulder blades that prevented what little sleep I might have otherwise had. Blegh. The way back was better. Better seat and I was next to Elder Whittaker. The movies included Rush Hour 1, 2 and 3. Chris Tucker’s voice gets more and more annoying the longer the ride. Trust me. We sat in the back and felt every bump. I came all the way out of my seat several times. Seriously, I caught air on the bus. You know those dreams where you’re falling and you wake up with a flinch? Well, it was worse because I was actually falling.
The training was for zone leaders, district leaders and trainers. The training was particularly good this time. President Clark changed it up a bit and focused more on practicing our skills rather than just teaching us. It worked out really well. He cautioned us to have companionship inventory every week. This came as a bit of a shock to me because I always thought that inventory was only if you weren’t getting along with your companion. It turns out that is mostly true. I guess some companionships don’t communicate very well so while one companion might think every thing is going well, the other isn’t having such a good time. I’ve decided to ask Elder Forsyth if he secretly hates me. Actually, I’ll do it right now. He said, “Yes”. Darn. I guess we can express mutual discontent in a manner that isn’t accusatory or hostile. President Clark also trained us to do our district meetings differently. Ever since I’ve been a district leader or zone leader I’ve always talked about our investigators and then given 30 minutes of training on a topic of my choice. President whipped out Preach My Gospel and opened to the section on district meetings and there it was; a doctrinal dissertation is only one of eight bullet points. So he told us to stop lecturing and to do the other bullet points. That means that I don’t have to prepare 30 minute lessons for district meeting anymore! It will be a good time to practice and improve our skills as missionaries to make us better teachers when we’re in front of investigators.
Mary told me that she talked to Roy on Facebook. I would love to read that conversation! The poor guy is trying so hard to learn English. Speaking of Roy, we are going to eat as his house on Sunday night. His Larry brother-in-law will be there. Roy’s older sister married a bloke from England. He’s all Brit. We’ll meet him on Sunday. We’ll be armed with the sword of truth, the handgun of sincerity, the knight stick of righteous fury, and the bear trap of “You have a weird accent.” The bear trap is only used when all else fails and I’m backed into the corner of childish insults. Kidding, kidding! I’m excited to meet him and glad that Roy’s family likes us enough to invite us to a family dinner. Roy will receive the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday.
I couldn’t be more grateful for finding such a great guy. What I should say is that I’m grateful that the Lord would lead us to him, not finding him per se.
Going through the Area Book a while back we found a less active member. Her name is Natalie. She’s 13 and the only member of her family. Her aunt is a member but less-active. She’s so cool. She looks like she’s 17 although she just turned 13 and her mom is great. They own small outdoor cafe and her mom is the head chef. She is an amazing cooker! [Sorry, I couldn’t edit that out. His English is fading fast.] She made us some BBQ squid with sambal (a dry chili sauce) and some kind of green sauce that tastes like salsa verde. Needless to say, Elder Forsyth and I couldn’t get enough of her food and they were in awe. We were basically drinking the stuff. In fact, Natalie’s mom was so surprised that she made us a whole tub of it! Elder Forsyth picked it up on splits when I was in Sibu. So good! The thing it has a distinctly Malaysian twist. The natives don’t appreciate it – they think it’s sour or something. Natalie really wants to come back to church. Her mom would definitely allow it but she works all day on Sunday. Natalie can’t drive and it’s too far to walk so maybe we’ll take the bus with her. If only her aunt was active, she could take Natalie to church. I think I may have found the answer.
We went faith finding last week and found two new people to teach! We haven’t met with them again yet due to the MLT but we will this week; maybe tonight. I love faith finding. It hasn’t failed me yet. And this time was cool in it’s own way. We prayed specifically that we’d find two people who would let us come back and teach them. The first house we knocked said yes. It really looked like it was going to rain but we decided we could spare another 10 minutes and found the second person just before time ran out. We rode home under ominous skies. It didn’t rain a drop until we stepped under the pavilion at our apartments. Because it was raining, Roy picked us up for our lesson with him. Blessings in disguise – well not really in disguise – right out in the open.
That was another part of our training; recognizing miracles. They happen every single day if you look for them. In Mosiah it says that miracles cannot occur in the absence of faith, but if you do have faith you just need to look around a little bit. My challenge to you this week is to look for one miracle. You’ll find it, I promise.
Love you all!