What’s Going On…
English class this week was a great success! We had a total of 10 students, 6 more than last week! Three students were non-members, and found the class by the sign outside the church! We also had a less-active member attend, who said he would bring more friends next week. I will be receiving more training this week in Singapore on how to improve this, but it’s already looking great! 10 students is not a lot, but it has the potential to grow now. We’re praying for help this week to get more revelation in these efforts.
I’m back in Singapore on Wednesday for a few days, which means I’ll be able to see East Malaysia Missionaries again! We will receive training on teaching by the Spirit, helping members fulfill their callings, and how to show spiritual principles through object lessons. I hope this will help us to show how simple the Gospel is. Christ used parables, and object lessons certainly are similar. One of the famous object lessons in the Singapore Mission is the prophet. We first hold out our hand in a fist and explain that it represents God. We ask the investigator to hold out a fist beneath the fist which represents God. We then move our hand to the right and ask them to follow God. Their fist will follow to their left. We ask the investigator if they can see God. Occasionally, we get a “yes” and are not sure what to do. If they say “no”, then we tell them to close their eyes. With their eyes closed, they do not know which direction “God” is moving. Using a pen, we explain that it represents a prophet. With a prophet, we understand and feel which direction God is leading us. Performing the demonstration again with a pen connection the two hands, the investigator is able to “follow God” with the help of a prophet. I have loved object lessons, they show how basic the principles of the Gospel are. The investigators love to learn from these examples. The schools here do not use involvement as a tool in learning, but they love to understand these things. It helps them to relate their physical senses to the Spirit. In my personal studies, I have studied 21 Principles by Elder Scott. He makes a powerful statement which promises that if we practice following the Spirit, the direction will be more clear than decisions made with our physical senses. The Spirit is certainly the best tool missionaries have ever been given. Christ’s teaching style is certainly another perfect example of how to teach. Combined with Preach My Gospel, scriptures, revelation, and companions, WOW! We certainly are lined up for success! Sometimes it’s hard to remember, but God wanting us to succeed is a constant fact.
This week was a little long, another missionary and I caught some stomach flu. They threw us together in a house while everyone else went to work. We got some extra sleep to recover, and now we’re back at it! We went on a small hike this morning to the highest point in Sibu, which wasn’t very high. Sibu is a very small area, and the tallest “hill” is in equal elevation to a 20-story building. We however got some great pictures and exercise in the hot sun. We found a truck on the way almost tipping all of it’s materials on the road. Another sight was a bicycle with handlebars on the wheels. This week’s been really weird.
I will be attending zone conference in Singapore in over a week, I’m really excited to see everyone again. This week I was pondering following the council of Priesthood leaders. At points in my mission I have found their guidance to be very instructive and constructive. At other times I have found it hard to follow their direction. I have wondered what to do when leaders do not do their part, and what effect it has on the people under their jurisdiction. I conversed with my companion on this topic. We found that although some leaders may not be perfect, it does not restrict the agency of others. Obedience to Priesthood leaders is not always easy, and may not yield the best visible results. However, obedience to the person the Lord has hand-chosen will always result in growth and blessings. When a leader is in tune with the Spirit and shares revelation to those it is applicable to, it allows others to receive a wider variety of blessings and opportunities. Obedience to the Lord’s command opens the windows of heaven.
Obey the commandments, obey the Spirit, and be happy!
This month is going to be really busy, and I don’t have anything to talk about. This month I’m traveling to Singapore for Zone Conference, I’m having Zone Meeting, a wedding, running English programs, Chinese New Year, and everything else that comes with missionary work. I’m still adjusting from transfers, but this transfer looks like a success. My new companion is Elder Lundahl-Wolford from Utah. We both have birthdays in February, and he is one transfer behind me. He was initially three transfers ahead of me, but he had to return home for 6 months for a surgery. We just met up on Saturday, so we’re still adjusting and making plans, but it will be great!
Sorry, no other thoughts or news today. Have a great week!
Christmas was fantastic! We had a very spirit filled atmosphere, or at least the best it can get here. I guess the other Christians don’t actually do anything for Christmas, it’s just a tradition because it’s December. But we had a great time visiting the members and investigators this week. We had a branch Christmas party with a great turnout, and an improved sacrament meeting. Things are getting really good in Sibu! Transfers is today, so there might be some changes in the area. I’m working very hard to prepare for the English class launch in the coming weeks. I really enjoyed this part of the year, and sadly it’s my last one in the mission. 🙁 The videos the church has been putting out are outstanding. I love how simple it is to remember what Christmas is about. Christmas has all the meaning in the world when it is centered on Christ.
I really don’t have anything else to say. Happy New Year!!!
Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you all can use this as a special time to remember our Lord Jesus Christ and his love for us. This is one of my favorite times of the year, to remember the Savior. Remember Him and let his love, mercy, and kindness envelope us. Allow his Atoning sacrifice change us into who He designed us to be.
We found a lot of success this week around Chicken Burritos. They really aren’t chicken burritos because they’re still alive. I don’t really know how to explain it, so look at the pictures. We found them at a market in the Bandar (City) and ran into these little guys. We also found three people there that would listen to our message. Lately, we’ve been taking the approach of a “message of the true meaning of Christmas”. I’m surprised that people’s hearts have been opened up ever so slightly around this time. We found a large Christmas tree display in another part of town where everyone was taking pictures. We found quite a few Buddhists and Muslims roaming around there, so even if they don’t know what Christmas means they can still be happy.
We received another considerable amount of rain, which soaked us completely. Ironically, the day we were soaked we achieved 3 new investigators. It’s been a while since we were able to teach someone. We taught a few people over the chicken burritos, a fruit stand, and a vegetable stand. We’re getting a good balance, we’re still looking for a dessert stand though. I’m grateful for the success we were blessed with this week. I have also been working on improving the church experience. This week was a significantly better experience for our members. Almost all members came on time, more of them stayed for second hour, participated in class, and Elder Sabin and I were able to teach two youth about Wielding the Spirit as a Missionary. We had some powerful spiritual experiences, which we haven’t had in some time. As we taught the two youth of the Spirit, we had the opportunity to identify the Spirit as we taught of the Restoration. Church will continue to gradually improve as we bring investigators in the following weeks.
I was assigned as the English Unit Leader. I’m in charge of managing the English classes. My mission has an emphasis on using English class as a finding tool. In some areas, classes are as large as 60 students. We would like to involve members in this effort to allow them to become friends with these people and show them what a member of the church is like.
One thing I’ve learned is that a testimony doesn’t always begin with “I know” or “I believe”. Over the hours of contacting people, I’ve gotten the best responses from people when I testify of truth. When I testify of truth, it is as simple as “God is your Heavenly Father”. There is no room for doubt, and others cannot deny the truth even if they don’t believe it. It is truth, and with truth comes the Spirit. I have come to realize that when I live worthily of the Spirit and testify of truth with the Spirit, others can’t do anything. They can accept the message, or they can walk away knowing they rejected the Spirit. We would like all members in the branch to become constant missionaries to their friends and invite them to activities such as English class. If we can work effectively with the members, we will have exponential success.
I hope everyone is having a great Christmas season and finding ways to remember Jesus Christ! Have a White Christmas, and I’ll continue to have a Wet Christmas!
It’s still not snowing here, actually we’ve been getting a lot of rain. Sibu does not have a very good irrigation system so the roads flood. It’s a somewhat developed city, but it sure does not have a good way for people to avoid water. This week I went on companion exchanges with the Malay Elders. They found this biking trail next to a park. One of the Elders fell into a swamp, we were all wet from the rain, and we biked through a flood in the road. Malaysia isn’t very suitable for snow, but it sure can give us acid rain, mud, and mosquitoes!
I get the impression that some of you think I am in Singapore. I’m in East Malaysia in a city called Sibu. It’s about a 3 hour flight over the ocean eastward of Singapore. If I were in Singapore, I wouldn’t be biking through floods. But Malaysia is great, I don’t mind getting a little dirty.
Elder Sabin and I have been increasing our efforts to find people with interest in hearing a Christmas message. We also found some people wanting to join our English class, which hopefully will give us a chance to offer them a gospel discussion. I really like the Christmas season, Sibu is the most Christian area I’ve been in. There are just as many Methodist churches as there are LDS churches in Idaho. There are many other churches, and some of them have some incorrect views of our beliefs. But during the Christmas season, people seem to have put this thought aside and focused on remembering Jesus Christ. I have found that although we don’t have the same beliefs, we agree that celebrating Christmas means that we are kind to each other. We serve each other. This past week I had a 30 minute discussion with people on the street who were Jehovah’s Witnesses. We were able to share some beliefs on the Plan of Salvation, emphasizing the importance and role of Jesus Christ. They had a slightly different belief, but nevertheless their belief led them to do much good in their missionary service(all members of the JW are part-time “missionaries”). Now is a great time to invite everyone to hear a message of Jesus Christ. We were invited to a Christmas Party by our random neighbor, and I’m sure many other people at this time have open hearts.
Seize the chance to spread the Christmas Spirit with the message of Christ. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!
It’s been starting to rain a lot, so the streets are flooding now. We had a wonderful week meeting with a few members and finding 25 people with potential to hear the gospel. We’re still working on improving our contacting abilities, but we’re making some progress. To quickly explain some of the pictures, we find weird signs, weird plants, weird rivers, weird fire hydrants that can’t really be accessed, awesome Ta Ann Do fighters, awesome night markets in the city, Thanksgiving dinner, and a solution to biking when some one gets a flat tire. Also Duran, stressed out companions, and great chicken mushroom rice that costs 6RM = 2USD.
We had great plans this week to visit investigators, but most of them were not able to meet. However, one 20 year old investigator who consistently comes to church met with us before church. He asked sincere questions about choosing a church, proper authority and revelation, and how to find peace amidst trouble. I am often reminded about missionary stories from Preach My Gospel. When I read Preach My Gospel, rarely do I have experiences like those. But I realize that the principles from the stories apply to all people. All people are best helped with the Gospel, people are seeking for it (although they may have trouble believing it comes from us), and miracles do occur.
To anyone seeking a more miracle filled lifestyle, I would recommend Preach My Gospel.
Wishing Everyone A Very Merry Christmas Season!!! And to those in warmer climates, A White Christmas.
My first week in Sibu has been great. Sibu is in the same state as Miri and Bintulu, so I see a lot of similarities. I’m glad to be back in East Malaysia, it feels like home. My companion is Elder Sabin, from Wyoming. So far, he is outstanding. He can contact like a machine gun, they drop down like flies! We’re seeing a lot of potential for the area, and our investigator pool is larger than normal. We’re hoping to see a lot of change this month.
I’m not really sure what I want to talk about this week, but I feel that I’m supposed to be here. I’ve been in a lot of areas, and I’ve gained a lot of experience from different companions. I know I’m supposed to be in this branch. I hope to be a good example to them and help them grow. Sometimes I feel that members don’t feel the true joy of the Gospel. The Gospel brings inner peace, confidence, optimism, hope, motivation, and divine assistance. I want these members to know that they share the missionary responsibility with me. The Lord asks them for a sacrifice as much as He asks me. He also will reward all laborers according to their work. I hope to have some miracles in this area.
That’s all for this week, have a great week.
Guess I’m on the run again. I’m being transferred to Sebu (East Malaysia). That’s 5 areas in 13 months! If I keep this up, I could visit all of the areas in the mission (at least for a Chinese Elder).
This week I ate Nan Tandori at a famous shop downtown. It’s a piece of bread similar to a tortilla, and baked chicken in a curry and chili pepper marinade. I also “Tim Tam Slamed” which was drinking Milo (hot chocolate) through a Tim Tam (Kit Kat-like chocolate bar). It’s a lot of chocolate. This week was full of good food. We’re planning on eating sushi latter today. Today is Elder Ebeling’s last day on his mission. I’ve been around a lot of dying missionaries my whole mission. Hopefully I’ll get to train a missionary soon.
We starting teaching a man who works at a phone store in a mall. He is a Chinese Christian man who hasn’t been to church in 6 months. It’s somewhat hard to teach him in the mall, so we’re hoping we can find another place. He isn’t really interested in the message, but at least he’s meeting with us. We also taught another Chinese Christian man, but he’s quite active in his church. His only friend circle comes from church, so he’s quite skeptical towards us. He listened to the Restoration and agreed to pray about it. We visited him again, but he still hasn’t prayed. Maybe he’ll do it in the next few days. We also found a college student from Tawau (my first area) on Sunday. He is Buddhist, but says he’s a free thinker. He seems like he would be receptive to a message, and he’s free 3 days out of the week. Unfortunately I won’t be in the area to see this stuff happening.
I found a picture of the Islamic Prophets. I never found out much about Islam, mostly because we don’t talk to them as much. People might get the wrong impression and think we’re preaching to them. It’s not legal to preach to Muslims here, but I don’t understand why we can’t talk. The picture talks about uniting the human race in a single religion, and receiving divine revelation from God. I don’t understand everything, but it’s fascinating to learn about. It explains a lot of the culture here.
Have a great week!