November 13, 2011
Dad, let me start off by thanking you for all the service you have given the members of our stake over the years, especially me. I love you and you’re an amazing example. Mom, so are you for being so strong and supportive of Dad in his calling. Dad, take her to dinner. Mom, eat something spicy and make him laugh.
Yes, I am a bit late this week but with good reason. I’ve been about the work. Well, actually it’s been a million different things all pertaining to training. On Monday we received a call from the APs saying that President Clark wanted the zone to go out to the Niah Caves for a zone activity, and the Bintulu Zone was coming too. But there was a catch. We were supposed to wear missionary clothes on the way there and then change into P-days for the cave and then back into missionary attire for the ride back. It was all in an effort to more closely comply with the white handbook. I was entirely against it. The caves are dank, smelly, and full of bat guano so it would have ruined our clothes to have put them back on and packing them around would have been not only disgusting but extra weight to carry. Happily enough things worked out. Elder Forsyth and I got to ride up with the Hodders and President Clark was in the car too so it was fun to hang out with him. Also, the other elders got to leave their clothes in the caves and didn’t end up having to change back so it would have worked out anyway. Being with the mission president was a lot of fun. I’ve been thinking recently about the temple and wondering where the teachings and ordinances come from. Then it hit me during a personal study. They come from the same source as all doctrines do; revelation from the Lord. And President Clark was able to show me a few pretty cool things that will help get me started on a new stream of study. I have a feeling that this isn’t going to be a phase of study but a new, life-long pursuit. Dad, I’d love the opportunity to talk to you about this but I can wait a little while longer I guess.
President Clark is a hilarious guy, still childlike in a lot of ways. He had to everything in the caves and take every path to make sure he wasn’t missing anything. As we were leaving the caves there was a different path we decided to take so a group of us took off on a little jog to this really, really cool kampung that few white people had ever seen (certainly none of which that spoke Iban). The residents there liked us so much that they had a few elders say a prayer for their families. The long house was 60 doors long and there were two that faced each other. So cool! Some guy was showering in the river when we were taking pictures and didn’t seem to mind.
On our way there something fell out of a tree and bit me right on the lip. It was about the size of a worm and was black and yellow so it was probably some kind of hornet. It burned like fire for about 30 seconds after which it went completely numb and swelled up. President Clark thought it was hilarious. Now that I think about it, we all thought it was pretty funny. When I woke up the next morning the spot where I was stung or bitten already had a layer of dead skin. No worries. I’m already on the mend. I can now add to my adventures that I was attacked by some type of jungle bug or that I kissed a bee and it bit back.
On Friday we were in training all day. We started at about 8:00 a.m. and I didn’t get home until 10:15 p.m. It was great — especially President’s training about self-mastery — something every missionary should understand. I also had a cool experience that started last week but secured itself pretty firmly in the training. Elder Forsyth and I have been together a while. In fact, we are the longest companionship in the entire mission right now. In our time together we have done a ton of contacting, enough that we have probably knocked every house in Miri within any concentration of Chinese people. We’ve been a little discouraged because we haven’t taught anyone in a while. This week I realized that we haven’t done our best to try to talk to everyone. Of course we tell people who we are and talk about the Church but I’ve had so many people reject me that I think it was getting to me. I was at the point where I would rather have not asked then have been waved away one more time. So it finally hit me and I was just like, “No. That is wrong. Fear is in direct opposition to faith and I obviously don’t have enough of it right now.” So I’ve been trying harder to invite everyone to find the truth. Then President gave his training that was in large part about talking to everyone and opening your mouth. In General Conference Elder Holland pointed out that Satan doesn’t need us to go apostate to win. He just needs to bind the tongues of the righteous. So, I invite everyone reading this to heed the words of the Lord and open your mouth! The Church is true and I love all you guys.