What’s Going On…
I flew to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, roamed around for 3 hours until I found the bus station, then took a 2 hour ride to Melaka. I arrived at about 10 at night. It was a very long and boring day. I was alone all day, and I had never been to KL other than the airport. But nevertheless, I made it here!
I am companions with Elder Wimmer, as we found that Elder Ebeling is training local Elder Teh who will be going to Tonga. The area is very pretty, there is a large city area near the ocean. The other areas are covered with jungle and rivers, and culture is everywhere. We find a lot of Indian people here, much more than in Bintulu. It’s an entirely different mission in this area. The branch is much stronger than the few people we had in Bintulu, and we actually have a branch counsel now! This will be a new tool I need to figure out how to use.
It seems that every time I am transferred into a new area with a new companion, I get really stressed. This time we were whitewashed, meaning Elder Wimmer and I both don’t know the area. We are tagging along with Elder Ebeling to know the area first, then we’ll be on our own two feet. Rather four feet. The work here focuses a lot more on finding referrals and new investigators. This was different from Bintulu where we had lessons overflowing our schedule. It’s a very different change, I’m still adapting to the new environment.
As I’ve had these experiences, I’ve needed to search deeper from the scriptures. I’ve really learned to love my morning studies where I can forget all of the problems and have a spiritual experience. This really helps me to find peace during my day. Prayer has become much more meaningful to me. These trials have helped me to come closer to my Heavenly Father as I have sought to do His will. I have learned to enjoy the small things in life. The food in Melaka is one of the best places in Malaysia, and standards are much higher than East Malaysia. They have very good curry, fried chicken, noodles, shawarma!!!!! and Western Food! We also eat inside a lot more, so I can create some tasting masterpieces such as peanut butter sandwiches (with chocolate). Yesterday, we made a good noodle soup with chicken, vegetables, and eggs. I find peace in food.
I hope school is going well for those in school. Good luck! I love you all!
This week was kinda wasted. I was sick for a few days, so we had to stay inside. Elder Trudo had some stomach problems, so he also stayed inside. The later end of the week was District Conference. All of the members from Miri took a bus down to Bintulu on Sunday Morning. Before the conference, we had the opportunity to be interviewed by President Simmons. While one of us was being interviewed, the other three were engaged in conversation with Sister Simmons. We discussed how to strengthen the Priesthood members in the district and how missionaries can assist in that. The conversation led into how we can help the Iban people better receive the gospel. A major concern with missionary work in our area is retaining Iban members. Iban members often have trouble reading, making reading the Book of Mormon very difficult (hahaha). Sister Simmons expressed the idea of creating audio books for the Book of Mormon in Iban. We talked with the Simmons for a total of probably 4 hours. At the end of our conversation, they said that they had enjoyed our conversations of enlightenment. They spend more time talking with us than any other group of missionaries. Over the course of our conversations, we have gotten really close with President Simmons, even so much that we know some of the transfer news (today is transfer day). President Simmons is doing a great job at understanding the problems of the areas, making connections with the missionaries, and has begun to sculpt the mission. From what President Simmons said to us concerning transfers, he said something like “wait until you see what I’ve cooked up for you this time, it’s something you’ve never seen before”.
……We just received news that I’m moving to Melacca! I’ll be in a tri-panionship with Elder Ebeling and Elder Wimmer! I’ll be flying to Kuala Lumpur, taking a bus to Melacca, then meeting up with Elder Wimmer flying in from Singapore. I’ll be very busy these next few days! Everything in the mission is getting mixed up. Zone leaders were previously together in a companionship. Now they will be split apart, and some zone leaders will also be training new missionaries! Trainees are being split up and reassigned with new trainers, and 21 new missionaries are in. This is the craziest transfer in my mission experience yet! Our new AP is Elder Pierce from Miri. We finally have another Chinese speaking AP! Lots of action this week, we’ll see how it changes the mission!
Another great week!
When we were at the church printing off some documents, we heard a small “meow” from the hallway. We investigated the area and found two kittens abandoned under the stairs. Several days earlier, a cat had run out of the church as we were closing up. We tried to return the kittens to the mother, but the mother would not accept them. We ended up leaving them at a nearby restaurant in hopes that they would let them be the restaurant cats (so they don’t need to clean the floors).
I’m grateful for my boy scout leaders, young mens leaders, scout troops, and everyone else who has helped me “kindle” my love for fire (Bro Rich, Bro Bishop, Bro Sorensen, and everyone). We found another “mothership” spider on the floor, but feared that it would be really fast. I thought it was a good idea to spray it with insect repellent, then light it on fire. This was extremely effective, except I singed a few finger hairs while doing so. So on one hand I have normal hair, and on the other hand some short curly hairs.
Lately, we’ve been focusing on teaching with the Spirit. We visited a “recent convert less active member” this week. She is a RCLAM because she was baptized a few months ago, but decided to revert back to her previous church. She believed that her previous church was more fun, spiritual, and correct. We had tried to help her see the truth of the Book of Mormon, prophets, and everything. She deflected all of our attempts to help her. She decided that she would attend her previous church, read only the Bible, and pray to Jesus. In our visit this week, we checked up on her testimony. We had not seen her in a month, and found that she had changed entirely. Her attendance in her own church was not strong, she had stopped reading the Bible, prayers were less sincere, and her self-testimony-confidence was shattered. She had justified her actions of not doing these things that she “still had Jesus in her heart”, but she could not deny that she was farther away from God. She admitted that she had felt less peace in her life. We latter talked to her friend, who was also a former investigator. In the time that she had stopped meeting with us, she also had stopped reading the Bible. Furthermore, her smoking addiction had doubled in severity. Through these two experiences, we found the importance of personally feeding ourselves with the Spirit. These two people had once been strong, but did not know how to be spiritually fed. They thought that they could sustain themselves without any help. They stopped meeting with us and did not know how to follow the Spirit. Without the guidance of the Spirit in our lives, we start to wonder off the strait and narrow path. The ability to be spiritually fed comes from a personal desire to follow Christ. If we truly look for spiritual things, we will find the Spirit. If our desire is fake, we will find ourselves falling off the path. Personally, I had a long struggle finding out how to find and follow the Spirit. I have realized that it’s very simple. It starts with a desire.
We had a baptism this week, a very strong convert. He received the Gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday, and it was evident that he was aided with the Spirit throughout church. He participated in the lessons, made rather deep doctrinal connections between covenants and faith, and was happier than we had ever seen him. Having the Holy Ghost and not having the gift has never been more transparent, it affects us way more than we think.
Zone Conference in Singapore was fantastic! We took a flight to Kutching where we met up with many other missionaries from Miri and Kota Kinabalu. This conference group was full of greenies! There were many new missionaries from West Malaysia and a few from Singapore. We arrived in Singapore 6 hours before the conference started, so we went on another Singapore adventure! First a glorious Chicken BLT at Chilis (which was way expensive), then roaming around Chinatown. I helped Elder Roundy Barter his way down on a few purchases, as all shop owners were trying to take advantage of his “white tourist” appearance. One man tried to sell him 3 Chinese Robes for 280 SNG, but we got it down to 85 SNG. Singapore is so expensive! While walking around Singapore we found some really expensive Ferraris at a hotel, really cool buildings with jungles on the sides, a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple, and tons of white people wearing white shirts and ties with name tags. At every Zone Conference, we will find missionaries on the MRT system, at restaurants, at Chinatown, basically covering the whole island. I’m surprised everyone made it into Singapore safely, most of the missionaries were on the same flight. This would usually alarm the immigration officers, but not this time!
The focus of Zone Conference was to personally apply the Doctrine of Christ, then strengthen our relationships with investigators, less actives, and members. By being more worthy of the Spirit through changing the way we live missionary life, we will better qualify ourselves for the Gifts of the Spirit. It is important to develop these gifts (discernment, tongues, faith, healing) in order to best minister to the people here. After zone conference, President Simmons followed us back to Bintulu where we continued this conversation. From our discussion we concluded that instead of focusing on being better at contacting, or more obedient, or greater teachers, we should simply view ourselves as investigators. As we learn to have more faith in Christ’s principles, change through repentance, and remember Christ though the Sacrament, we can change into what the Lord wants us to be. Sometimes as missionaries we focus on imperfections and improvements of our investigators. We want to change this focus on how we can be more Christlike. As we do this we will better wield the Spirit in lessons, know how to help people, and understand who is ready to receive the Gospel.
Back in Bintulu, President Simmons went out with us in the rain to visit an investigator. He has remembered his Chinese, although he hasn’t used it in 30 years, and is doing a great job adapting to the culture. So far he wants to understand the people in the mission before changing the mission, and he wants to teach with the missionaries even more in the future.
Today should be interesting. We didn’t have a P-day activity planned, but we have a member who is possessed. So today, we’re going to cast out a spirit. Things are pretty sketchy in Malaysia. There are people practicing black magic, one of our members was supposedly cursed, and people are worshiping devils. It’s a different side of the world here, but hey! We have the Gospel!
Oh, we’ll be baptism next week! Our investigator has constantly progressed in the past 4 weeks and has accepted all commitments and commandments! When we taught him the Word of Wisdom, he asked about his love for green tea. After we explained the importance of this commandment, he randomly during the lesson starts praying. In his prayer he says, “thank you for the Elders and the Word of Wisdom, I’m not going to drink green tea anymore”. Way sick!!! He his going to be a great leader for others in Bintulu. Looking ahead in the transfer, it doesn’t look like we’ll have 10 baptisms, but we should have around 4-5, which is extremely high statistically for this mission. We’re building the Chinese group steadily with our few members, but we can expect great miracles in Bintulu (and anywhere).
This week, I gave a small training on “Enduring to the End” in terms of the Gospel of Christ. I found an interesting perspective in an institute manual. According to scientific experiments and theories, if a person were to be moving at fast speeds (close to the speed of light) then space and time seem to slow down. If we were to relate this theory to God, it would make sense. God is the source of all light, all time is before him, and his presence is everywhere. He is able to see what we can become because His perception of time is not our perception of time. Our Heavenly Father sees what we will become while simultaneously knowing what we are. Taking this conception, it seems that God has a different purpose when saying “endure to the end”. When considering “the end”, it seems to signify time or space. When running a race, we will run until we reach the finish line, or our time is up. Because time and space eternal to God (he perceives all time and space), enduring to the end seems to signify a change in light. I feel that enduring to the end is not “do my best until the end of the transfer, the end of my mission, the end of my life”, and is not “do my best until this world no longer exists”. It rather means that we need to increase in “light” until we are like God. According to the Doctrine of Christ, the end is when we are like Him. Therefore, we must press forward until we are like Him. Not just until baptism, until receiving the Priesthood, until a mission, until the temple, until we die, or until whatever. When we are like Him, we will still need to retain our “light” or Godlike attributes to remain as Godlike beings. If God were to sin, He would cease to be God. So enduring to the end is for all time (which has no end), all space (which has no end), but having all light (I’m guessing has no end). 🙂 So Endure to the End with the purpose of being changed forever.
This next week is P-WEEK!!! aka, zone conference in Singapore. I will be flying on Malaysian Airlines again, but somehow many other missionaries are flying on Silk Air (the most luxurious airline in the world), so I’m kinda jealous. I’m sure I’ll get to be on Silk Air at least once though, so that’s ok. I’m excited to see all the missionaries again, get some good training, then build up Bintulu until it’s a huge wall like in Lord of the Rings!!! I say it’s P-Week because two days are traveling, two days are conference, today is P-day, so most of the week is being with other missionaries doing activities. Way stoked!
This week was a blast! Kinda. I found that on Monday, someone had jumped over the walls of our house and had stolen my bike. That was really disappointing, I had kept it in very good condition. I picked up a spare missionary bike, but it’s way jenky. I’ll probably buy a cheap bike and decorate it with lots of Jesus pictures so nobody wants to steal it. Unfortunately in Malaysia, bike locks don’t really do much. I’m just another missionary victim of bike theft.
This week, we were able to find a less active Chinese member through a branch list. We went to visit her and found that she had a husband and three children. The husband had never received the missionary lessons, so we shared the Restoration with them. We found that they asked my inspiring and “on target” questions such as, “how can we know if a church is true, everyone says that their church is true. we just have to ask God, right?” I’m not really sure how to respond to things like that, it almost sounds like a prank. I guess it’s just another miracle family! They accepted the invitation to read the Book of Mormon, and I feel like they will be baptized in this transfer.
We received some sadder news when we found that one of our investigators didn’t want to continue meeting with us. One of our recent converts, who has had trouble with her testimony, influenced our investigator until she didn’t want to continue learning about the Gospel. She said she was content with her current church, which was the church that our recent convert for some reason still attends. Latter in the week, we also found that our recent convert didn’t believe in Joseph Smith and the Restoration. Interestingly, she has read parts of the Book of Mormon and will not deny that it is true. She never says that it is false, but shyly says that it has “good doctrine”. Right now, we are in the process of positioning these people so that when they are ready(for the truth) they will come back to the missionaries. I have learned that if we want to have kingdom builder members of the church, they must have a sure foundation in Christ.
This week I also went on missionary splits with my zone leader Elder Pearce. We had a very intense day as we started out contacting. For the first two hours, we weren’t able to talk to anyone. We were so busy knocking on gates that we hadn’t looked up at the sky. We found ourselves stuck in the rain, and decided to take shelter under a tree. We stayed there for about 20 minutes talking about mission goals and dreams when we saw a man walking down the street. He saw us and decided to approach us. We did our missionary thing….. and he asked for our number for more information. We also grabbed his number, but unfortunately lead to a non-service phone. Although we didn’t find a new investigator through him, I learned that people are everywhere at anytime. If we found a man(rather he found us) with interest in the Gospel in the rain, we can definitely find prepared people among the grumpy Chinese grandpas and angry dogs in Malaysia on a sunny. People are just everywhere, and although most don’t admit they want the Gospel, they will know where to find it when they are ready.
This is the Lord’s work, and it is His time!
This week was Hari Raya (a public holiday), which doesn’t do anything good for missionary work. We however did get to party with some Muslim friends! We went with some members, whose relatives hosted the party. During this time, everyone has a huge feast and nobody wants to hear from the missionaries. In fact, we just found that nobody is home because they’re at someone else’s house.
We also found a small drink shop that has a zoo, so we were able to drink smoothies while a python slithers on our table. There were other reptiles and bunnies that we could hold. My favorite was a bearded dragon.
As far as transfers, I’m still in Bintulu with Elder Roundy, and we still are aiming for 10 baptisms. We just put two investigators on date yesterday, and we’ll line the rest of them up this week. We’re keeping so busy that it’s hard to find time for dinner. There are so many people to teach, we’re always finding new people, and we want to establish Elders Quorum and Relief Society this week. This last week, we made a goal to create a branch by the end of the transfer. In order to do that, we need to have more members, Melchizedek Priesthood holders, and a Home/Visiting teaching. We want this branch to retain all members through friendship and fellowship. Branches in other areas of the mission have hundreds of less-actives, and our goal is to have every member a kingdom-builder. We will be busy these next few weeks.
This week, Elder Roundy and I focused on the essential parts of the Gospel. As education in Malaysia is not as established, we find that our teaching needs to be extremely simple. In a lesson, we will simplify everything down into what is most important. The Gospel is really simple to understand when broken down to the core. We believe we have a creator who loves us, and if we do what He says, we will be happy. The Gospel was designed so that every one of Heavenly Father’s children would be able to return. We have experienced miracles when we teach the essential core doctrine with support of scripture and testimony. The two investigators we put on date yesterday started to meet with us only a week ago. Other investigators are realizing how the Gospel blesses their lives as they do simple acts of faith.
The small and simple things are really the most important. The belief that we have a God is the reason the Gospel exists, why we exist, and why we can be happy. To the investigators that struggle with developing faith, we ask them to pray about what they know. When they understand a simple truth, we ask them to act on that faith. Once they have a spiritual experience, we ask them what they have learned. This then opens an opportunity to teach another truth. To anyone who desires to know what is truth, we can ask God, then act on that feeling in our heart.
I had my third baptism this week, we are continuing to have great success in Bintulu. By the end of next month, we’re planning on having ten-ish baptisms. We’re really excited for the future of this area. Unfortunately, transfers is today and we’re not sure if we’re going to leave yet. But either way, we’re doing the same thing we do every day… try to take over the wor….. missionary work!!! ….
In my personal study, I have been studying Spiritual Gifts and their relation with missionary work. I really don’t know much about Spiritual Gifts, even less about my own, but I read a few things in the Teachings of the Prophets Joseph Smith Manual. Essentially, these gifts are sacred and are given to worthy servants. They are used to bless others according to their faith. They are often displayed privately, and oftentimes are undetectable without close attention. Over time, these gifts are exercised and grow until they are efficient tools in serving others. I am curious as to what my Spiritual Gifts are. They will be revealed as I do the Lord’s work.
Elder Vincent is “dying” tomorrow, so we had his ceremonial burning yesterday. We burned his dirty clothes and old things that he won’t be taking home. It’s oddly normal to have random fires on the side of the road, most people destroy their trash by burning it. I have another three months until my year mark, then I’ll get to burn a shirt.
Not much else happening other than miracles, I’m not sure what to say. One thing I’ve learned is that small actions make up character.
President Simmons attended our District Conference in Miri this weekend. We had a great attendance of 423 members from Miri and Bintulu. In this meeting, we received news that we will be combining to create a single district instead of being separate districts. This is in preparation to becoming a stake. We hope that in a year, we will meet the qualifications to becoming the first stake in Malaysia!
President Simmons seems to be a very experienced leader, he has a business-like mind. I don’t know too much about him, but I’m looking forward to working closely with him. His wife is very proactive and quick to learn. We had a quick meeting with them yesterday, and their plan is to understand the mission and the missionaries as best as possible before making changes. They will be great leaders for the mission.
Right know, I’m in a tripanionship with Elder Roundy and Elder Vincent. We’re doing quite well teaching everyone, I’m having a sweet time.
I don’t have too much time this week, until next week then!
Love, Elder Chin
So…… We’ve reached the conclusion that Satan controls all wild dogs. We have many dogs around our house, and all of them know where the missionaries live. The dogs used to chase the Elders down the street, until recently an elder ran over a dog on his bicycle. The dogs began to respect us and not chase the Elders, until this past week. As we were returning home one night, we went down an alley. We always go down this alley, it’s much faster than the main road. As we merged back onto the street, we found four dogs aggressively chasing us. I began to put my bicycle in low gear so I could accelerate quickly, and the creepiest dog decided to go after me. He quickly caught up to me and was running next to my left leg. I was reminded of what Elder Roundy said was the best defense against a dog, “kick it in the face”. So…. I kicked it in the face. Kinda. I actually kicked it in the neck, and it somehow managed to bend it’s head around me and bite my leg. Luckily it wasn’t a deep bite, rather just a cut. We cleaned up my leg, and the next day a member gave us tazers. We scared the dogs the next night with the tazers, and now they respect us again.
Elder Vincent one day pulled out a laser that he had gotten from Kuala Lumpur. The laser was blue, which is extremely powerful. He decided to burn off his arm hair with it. The picture I included is him, he is also dressed up in Muslim clothes. He’s finishing his mission in two weeks, and it’s very strange how crazy missionaries get before they go home.
Elder Fowler will be going home tomorrow, so he’s pretty “dead”, especially on p-day.
Concerning missionary work, we’re going to have some very huge changes in our area. President Mains will be leaving in two days, and the Miri/Bintulu Zone will be the first area to meet President Simons. There are other changes in our leadership, which I can’t say until next week. When this change occurs, there will be some great benefits that will help our area grow.
In my study of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I found that teaching it is so complicatedly-simple. I more I know about it, the less I need to say to explain it. I remember when I first started learning to teach, I explained everything I knew about everything. As I have improved my teaching skills, the most important things about the Restoration can be said in a few sentences.
“God is our Heavenly Father, who loves us and wants to give us infinite and eternal happiness. Jesus Christ is his son. He gave us the Gospel to help us be worthy of this gift. He teaches us the Gospel through prophets. The Gospel was given to Joseph Smith. Through the Power of God, Joseph Smith obtained the Book of Mormon. You can know that Joseph Smith is a prophet by reading the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is from God, then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Kingdom on the Earth.”
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the ONLY church on the Earth with the fullness of the Gospel. It contains no faults, and it is lead by Jesus Christ Himself. If we want to obtain ultimate happiness, it can only be found in the Gospel. If we want to know if Jesus Christ leads this church, read the Book of Mormon. If we want to know anything, ask of God.