October 12, 2011
Roy and his Mother invited us to their house on Sunday night for a dinner. We knew that Roy’s brother-in-law from England would be there and we just thought that they wanted to get a few white people together and take some pictures. Wrong. It was their entire family from all over Miri! Roy’s family is like ours: two boys and two girls but their daughter is the eldest and it goes girl, boy, girl, boy. At first I think they were a bit reluctant to talk to us but after they found that that both of us could speak Chinese they really opened up and were very welcoming the rest of the night. They also spoke to us like we were natives. The conversation topics went from gun laws in different countries to seasons in the desert to all kinds of stuff. You want a mental work out? Try keeping up with a bunch of Chinese people. They took pleasure teasing me. They gave us a fruit called cempedak (pronounced “chem-pe-dak”). The taste is similar to the related Jackfruit and Breadfruit with a hint of Durian. I ate one piece and that’s all I could handle, but Elder Forsyth – darn him – ate like 12 so they just teased me about that all night. Neil, the English bloke, Neil, was a goofball and a half. He married Roy’s sister before she knew any English, and he knows zero Chinese. Honestly, I don’t even know how he proposed, but they really seem like they love each other so more power to them. Neil is fro northern England. His accent would be very familiar to dad. It’s very strong. I was having a hard time translating what he said into American English in my head. He is really cool. He reminds me of Nigel from the Wild Thornberries.
Monday was an adventure. We went to see Sister Soon. I told her that if she hadn’t read a chapter from the Book of Mormon and had questions from it we couldn’t stay. While we talked her grandson was on the couch watching television. We were sitting so we could see it from the corners of our eyes and caught glimpses of Katy Perry and then Lil’ Wayne came on. One of us was making fun of the lyrics. Suddenly, Elder Forsyth exclaimed, “Oh no!” I look over to see . . . well, let’s just say they were only half-dressed. We convinced her to put a more-appropriate kid’s show on. That led to a discussion on the law of chastity, but the discussion really wasn’t going anywhere so we left to give Grandma Bong a blessing. She’s the elderly lady that was coming to church for a while but never wanted to be baptized. She wanted to Bible bash with us. Her position was that people can worship any way they want, and I agree. But we read from Ephesians 4:5 and then we argued about the definition of faith. She came back to “I’ll worship however I think I should.” I tried to explain that we need to know the purpose behind following commandments so we can fall back on that when tested by temptation. We also showed her that Moroni explains how to test truth in Moroni 10:4-5. We found out that she’s a member of Miri Gospel Chapel. It was founded in 1963 after three different denominations came together to settle their doctrinal differences and came up with a new church. In the end we left her with a blessing and went on our way.
Tuesday I went on splits with Elder Gottfredson to do some interviews. Do you remember that interview I did with that lady a few weeks ago when it became clear that she just wasn’t ready? Well, she has made a complete 180. It’s a night-and-day difference. I could fell the Spirit telling me that she’s ready now and was more than happy to recommend her for baptism. I also interviewed a little 9-year old girl who was very obviously stressed out of her mind, and the family she was with told us it was normal. I just wanted to hug her and explain that everything was okay so she could relax. I was also happy to recommend her for baptism. I absolutely love being a missionary. And I love this Gospel. And I love all of you.