What’s Going On…
For P-day, we went to the National Landmark Niah Caves! We did some walking around, looked at stuff, talked, looked at more stuff, it was fun. But it was a blast!!!!!!!! We went through some really large caves, climbing over huge rocks and getting random pictures. We were able to find bats chilling on the ceiling, and huge insects. We also found the bird whose nest is used in the Chinese Bird’s Nest Soup. The hike was about 5 miles, but we were really tired. Most of that was jumping across rocks and finding random holes we could find shortcuts through. It was probably the most adventurous P-day yet! I was able to see my old District again, along with some new missionaries. It’s surprising how much they’ve changed in the three weeks I haven’t seen them.
With getting a new mission president and people in my area leaving and all the changes, I’ve learned a few very important lessons. I would like to share some of these experiences and insights.
1. Obedience brings happiness
Being lazy or sloppy or disregarding the rules will never bring true happiness. I recently was talking with some missionaries that will soon be going home. I found that their post-mission life plan is not what a returning missionary would normally do. After pondering their current actions, I recalled a quote from Elder Bednar from a talk in the MTC. He said that it is possible for a missionary to go on a mission, but not become a missionary. I had not completely understood this statement until I considered what I wanted to be. After considering what I came out here to do and what I wanted to accomplish, I found that my current actions needed some tweaking. With the time passing so quickly, I find myself racing against time to find out who I really am, and who I’m meant to be. As I do the Lord’s work, I find small glimpses of what the battle in heaven was like. We are not fighting against a mindless constant influence of evil. We are confronting a very real and intelligent being with real power that desires us to fail. I know that true happiness comes from fulfilling our position in the ranks of the Lord’s army.
2. Charity never faileth
This past week, I found myself in my eyes being somewhat prideful. I was having a difficult time readjusting to the work in a new area, and wanting to take control over everything. It was a very stressful time getting along with my companion. Over the course of this week, I noticed small acts of kindness from my companion, which was an expression of his love and dedication to our companionship. I found myself over time really enjoying working hard, and finding new ways to work harder to help others. I was reminded that it’s really hard to hate someone who buys you food, helps you be better, and makes you smile. Charity is not overrated, it really works.
This week, we found ourselves asking our investigators a ton of questions, which I started to ask myself. Why do you believe what you believe? Do your actions and beliefs act in harmony? What are you willing to sacrifice to love God?
This week when the zone leaders came from Miri to have zone meeting with us, we found them riding “My Travel Choice”. AKA the MTC express. So we’re actually still in Utah, but you all think I’m in Malaysia. We also found some houses protected with electrical fences, which can also be found in Utah. So…. I’m still in Utah.
This week was full of teaching investigator lessons and contacting new investigators. We happened to do more work for the Malay Elders that we live with. Yesterday, we found them 5 new investigators, but we didn’t get anything. How unfortunate. Elder Fowler, one of the Malay Elders that I live with, consistently says, “you see Elder Chin, when you train the Chinese Elders to do work for you….”. At other times he says, “you see Elder Chin, when you train your companion to grab food for you”, or “your district leader to call the zone leaders”, or “the members to invite you over for dinner”, or “the district leader’s companion to clean the house”, or “the zone leaders to buy you pizza”, or “President Mains to allow you to travel to Miri for companionship exchanges”….. We’re working hard, but somehow the results just slip through our hands. Meh, at least we’re busy doing work.
We were contacting in a sketchy old shop-lot at night, and it started to rain like it does in Malaysia. We decided to go up a dark hallway with tons of spiderwebs, somewhat like in Lord of the Rings or something. We ended up meeting a less active member who gave us two of his friends to teach. Of course these people were Malay, so we gave these key indicators to the Malay Elders. Later that night, we found another group of Malay people that we also referred to the Malay Elders. They are expecting two baptisms in the next two weeks, and we’re planning a baptism in about three weeks. Maybe I should learn Malay so that I can teach those people instead of giving them to the other Elders. Meh.
My knowledge of characters is continuing to increase. I can read basic passages of the Book of Mormon, but there are still tons that I don’t understand. I’m also learning to write all of the characters that I learn to read. It’s a fun activity that lightens up my day even more. At my year mark, my goal is to be able to read the Book of Mormon entirely in characters, which will be a challenge.
Fear not though the enemy deride, we must be victorious for the Lord is on our side!!!!
Well, last week the emailing system was down, so we weren’t able to send in anything. Updates from last week, I was transferred to my third area. I’m in Bintulu, which is a three hour bus ride away from Miri. The area is not as developed as Miri, but we have a lot of work to do here. I am still in the Miri/Bintulu Zone, which is the highest baptizing zone in the mission :D. Last month a Chinese group was formed in Bintulu, and we have about 5 active members. By the end of the year, we are aiming to form a branch. We’re planning on a few baptisms in the coming months, and we want to form home teaching soon. I live with Elder Roundy (my companion), and Elder Vincent and Elder Fowler (Malay speaking). I definitely don’t see as many missionaries on the street as Miri. Last week Elder South and I ran into the sister missionaries every day of the week, and somehow they had a problem every time. The sister missionaries had popped tires, lost each other, or forgot something. It’s a little lonely here, but we’re trying to keep busy with baptizing.
Usually when my environment changes, I have thoughts that certain things will make me more happy. When I first came into the mission field, I had always thought that being in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Kutching, or some huge city would make me happy. I love to be in well developed areas with lots of educated people, lots of food, and great living conditions. What I have found is that when I am in those places, I am not any happier than in another place. Initially I love the fun P-day activities, variety of food, and cool architecture, but I still view missionary work the same way. When missionary work is going slow, everything seems to be going slow. No matter where I go, my happiness is dependent on how I respond to trials that occur on my mission. It usually takes some time to get adjusted to the area, people, and customs, but I know I will have a blast in this area. I can see a reason why I am needed in Bintulu. There are not many areas in the mission where I will have the opportunity to build from nothing into a branch. We need to establish leadership and expectations for the members, and this will be a great experience.
In Bintulu we have been working with a recent convert who was baptized last week. So far we have had to help her remember her testimony. In the five days I have been in Bintulu, we have met with this member twice. Every time we have met, she has been looking to disprove the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She does not rely on the feelings of the Spirit because she believes they are too versatile and unstable. She has had hundreds of questions about things that don’t matter, but asks them in an attempt to find a fault in the church. In this experience, I learned that faith is sooooo important. We can’t scientifically or logically prove the Book of Mormon is true, and we shouldn’t look to. All sources of logical evidence were taken away so that we can only know the Book of Mormon is true by faith. I have seen a similar parallel in my Book of Mormon reading. There are so many experiences where people witness miracles, angels, and proof of truth but do not develop faith. Faith is the start of truth, peace, and confidence. In Mandarin, characters have a very literal translation into English. Faith (xinxin) in Chinese translates into confidence. When reading the scriptures, experiences have a different interpretation. Faith in Christ is also confidence in Christ. Developing faith is developing confidence.
And now as I said concerning faith (confidence)—faith(confidence) is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith(confidence) ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
Remember that without faith(confidence) you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith(confidence). Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.
For if there be no faith(confidence) among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith(confidence).
It is so important that members of the church be dedicated members. If you’re on the Lord’s team, you need to play with all your heart. We truly are in a war, and the enemy will take down anyone who is not confident.
Have faith, have confidence, and have a great week!
This was was great to be in Singapore. I learned many ways to improve my missionary skills, but the best thing I learned was to be happy while working hard. This past week, I worked very hard before zone conference to obtain potential investigators. As I was doing this, Elder South noticed that I was not having fun the way I was working. He helped me realize that doing missionary work should be fun, and we won’t find success unless we’re smiling. He compared us as business people “selling” the Gospel. If the product, which is who we are is not appealing, our “customers” will not desire what we have to give to them. I learned that I can not sell a product of happiness by frowning.
I loved zone conference, and I love to “preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words”. This week, my companion and I were able to find many potential investigators by being happy and talking with everyone. We keep a happy mood about us by cracking jokes and singing songs. The more I do missionary work, the more I believe that Christ has a sense of humor. My faith is strengthened in Christ as I learn that the Gospel is just a way to be happy. It’s just the best way to be happy. I love being a missionary, my mission is continuing to teach me to be obedient because my ability to be happy will be amplified.
We had some extra time in Singapore, so my district decided to visit the Gardens by the Bay and Chinatown! Way fun! The architecture is so amazing!
Hope everyone has a blast this week!
This week, we conducted companion exchanges with the zone leaders, and I ventured into the Malay area with Elder Spurrier. During this time, I was able to see another style of missionary work. I learned how I can use different contacting techniques in my own area. This week I learned to not fear people, and even get in their face a little. The people that I talked to on the transfer day responded very positively to the messages that we shared. We were able to get many potential investigators as a result. I was able to get past the mindset that some missionaries have harder circumstances than others. Missionary work is the same across the world, but we all have different challenges. The true test is the level of faith I have. The Chinese people that I talk to usually don’t want to talk to me, but I find that if I am able to establish a bond of trust, the people I talk to are interested in what I have to share. After this exchange, I am on fire to burn down the field and harvest everyone!!! After our mission conference in Singapore, we will return and continue to work hard with a new perspective. My faith has been strengthened as I saw unlikely people accept return appointments and show kindness. I am grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary, it truly is a once in a lifetime experience.
We were also able to have three new investigators this week from another missionary referral. This small family listed to the first discussion, came to church, and wants to come to church next week! I am so excited for this family, they had been searching for a suitable church for about six years. I guess they came to the right place! The mother accepted the challenge to be baptized on the first visit, and has a sincere to follow Christ. I know that with diligent effort, the Lord will change this family’s life through us. We will have future opportunities to use members in our lessons with this family. Members from the other branches in Miri want to assist us in helping this family. I am so excited to see this family progress!
I got to see an epic chicken fight in a sketchy part of Miri. The chickens would fan their neck feathers, similar to the dinosaurs that spit acid from Jurassic Park. They jump in the air and try to rip off the feathers of the other chicken. Apparently it’s a competitive sport in Malaysia, men instead of playing poker or whatever will bet on chicken fights. It’s really quite funny! We also ate at a Chinese restaurant with the sisters in our area. We ordered a lot of food, so much apparently that one sister threw up. We had a good laugh blaming certain foods and weather for causing this.
Well, I should be going to a crocodile farm today for P-day, and Singapore for zone conference “P-WEEK”! We are hopefully arriving early, so we’re planning on visiting the botanical gardens and China town. I am so stoked!!!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the dedicated awesome sweet moms in the world!
I don’t have much time to write this week, but this has been a tough week. However, we had some great events. I had my second baptism on Saturday, we learned a lot about patience and endurance. Maybe next week I’ll have more time. I’ll be in Singapore again next week.
Until next week, I love you all!
I’m on the Mormon Newsroom!!! Way cool!
This week was a rough, challenging, changing, great, learning week. I’m guessing that whenever I am transferred into a new area, I will have some initial struggles adjusting to the area. Elder South and I have become very close by sharing close feelings and becoming great friends. This week, he described me as a “fish in water”. I was discouraged because I didn’t feel like I was accomplishing much, and I didn’t feel motivated to work harder. Elder South said I was a fish because I am oblivious to the work that I am doing, how I have changed, and who I am. I feel like I become so focused on the minute things that I forget the overall purpose of my mission. He reminded me that no matter what happens on my mission, if I worked my hardest, I was successful. The Lord can do His own work, but has kindly allowed us to work and learn with Him. If I didn’t change anyone else’s life this week, at least my life was changed. Right now, I think my Chinese is terrible. My companion says that I know more than I think I do, and I ought to not get stressed about it. Only be concerned with persistent small improvements, and everything will be alright.
I learned a valuable lesson this week: when I doubt what I believe or know to be true, hold on to what is true. The smallest mustard-seed of faith is enough to keep it alive. When I have become discouraged, I have always had hope that things would become better. The hope is the driving force for me to work hard. This hope is from Christ’s Grace. I was reading a talk from my companion called We Are The Architects of Our Own Happiness. My hope and happiness is only dependent on my attitude. Other factors such as living conditions, food, people, companions, resources, success, persecution, or trials cannot control happiness. Satan only has power when we allow him to.
Wo ai nimen!
Miri is a completely different world. The place is almost the same, but much more modern. The people on the other hand are very different. People in Miri are educated, and have a different sense of humor than the people in Tawau. I find myself needing to adjust to the style of talking here. The Singapore Mission is very unique. Everywhere I could be transferred is like a different part of the United States. Sometimes it’s like New York, or maybe Washington, California, Florida, or in the middle of nowhere. There are Islamic people everywhere, and the church is also small everywhere. We are growing everywhere though. My new companion and I are expecting a baptism pretty soon, which should be my second. I am in the leading are in baptisms, and we’re trying to take over the mission. My Zone Leaders want us to try to take 50% of the mission’s baptisms. We are currently at 30%. We make up for about 10% of the missionary population, so we are working very hard to grow the zone as well as the mission.
My companion, Elder South is great! His Chinese is very fluent, he has been out for about 11 months. He is very obedient to all rules, and loves to cook, talk, and have a blast. We have spent a lot of time to get to know each other, and we have a very close and personal companionship. We share all of our feelings, thoughts, and we are able to feel many promptings of the Spirit. On my second day in Miri, we were able to witness two “Miri”cles. HAHAHA We visited two less active Sisters that usually complain, or will have a facade of happiness. When we biked through rain for half an hour to get to their houses, we were able to create a stronger relationship. With one sister, we were able to identify a family issue that has been troubling her for many weeks. The other did not complain to us about her problems or problems in the church, but was more understanding of how she can help the church. As Elder South and I talked back at home, we found that there are certain things that I learned in Tawau that could benefit Miri. My testimony that the Lord called me to this area was strengthened. From some missionaries in the mission, Tawau is the closest-knit place in the mission. The branch members are mostly related by blood, and they are some of the most friendliest people in the world. In Tawau, I learned to love the branch members with all of the heart. A part of this still lives in me while I live in Miri. I want to help the branch trust each other more and improve the trust between members and missionaries. I know that when we do this, we can work together with the branch members to accomplish more.
This week is transfer week, I’m heading to Miri in East Malaysia on Wednesday! I’m very sad to leave the people here in Tawau. I’m especially sad to say goodbye to the members and my first convert. Time has flown by so fast in Malaysia. It feels like yesterday I entered the MTC. I’m already in my second area! Wow, I’m excited but sad to leave.
I have learned so much from the members in Tawau, and especially with the Chinese members. With one member, I have learned more about patience than my whole life! I would visit him every week to help him overcome a smoking addiction. In the almost 5months that I have seen him, he has changed. I learned what patience is when I was thinking inside his shoes. This member has a habit of talking a lot in lessons, and on strange and random topics. Sometimes when we talk about how we can keep the Sabbath Day holy, he starts talking about the Priesthood and how it is essential to teaching a Sunday School lesson. As I have listened to him talk, I understood a little how he feels with other people ignore him. He does have spontaneous bursts of random talking, but he appreciates it when I have listed to him. As I thought of this, I understood a portion of what an investigator feels when I don’t teach clearly. Sometimes the investigator will interrupt, or not want to listen, but occasionally the investigator will patiently listen for the good parts of the message. I felt sorry for this member for the way I previously treated him when I did not understand him. After listening him talk for these months, I have learned to follow his train of thought. He will give very random, but very personal and profound examples of gospel concepts. One experience was when we were teaching about loving others despite their weaknesses. The member suddenly started to talk about ten coins, and giving one away, then giving all of them away. I initially thought he was talking about tithing, and I was trying to connect the dots between loving others and tithing. He was actually comparing the coins to a talent or gift or service that we can give to others. When we give of our time, talent, and love to others, we receive a great reward. He was comparing the blessings of loving others to the blessings received from sharing talents. Over these months, I felt that I misunderstood him and treated him less than what I should have. I love this member, and our relationship has grown very personal and strong. Even though he does not think the same way as me, I understand him more when I put his life in terms of love. It is easy to understand people when I love them. He loves his family more than anything, even when they are not happy with him. The people here in Malaysia are simple, they are motivated by love.
I have found my new favourite scripture! D&C 107:99-100
This scripture explains how simple the pattern is for missionary work. Learn what needs to be learned, and do it. It’s not very easy to follow, but it certainly helps to know that Christ is here at my side to help me.
I’ve become very close with the missionaries in my house. We joke around every day to keep our mood up. This week, we’ve been making fun of Elder Tan. We will sometimes ask, “who has the keys?” Someone will say, “Elder Tan does”. Tandas in Malay means bathroom. It’s very ironic because he loves to take long showers, and blow dries his hair. He’s always in the bathroom, so his name fits perfectly. My nickname is Elder Chinta. Chinta in Malay means “romantic love”. Elder Isberto has been called Elder Espresso. Elder Pearce has been called Elder Pisang, meaning banana. We have a lot of fun together. When eating at a Japanese restaurant, I ate a huge ball of wasabi, which didn’t feel very good. We’ve pranked each other with hiding food, scaring each other at night, and taking random pictures. We have learned to get along so well together. Elder Isberto is dying tomorrow. Meaning he’s going home because his mission time is complete. We’re sad to see him go, but we’re going to stay in contact.
This week is full of important learning experiences, and this new area will help me grow even more! I’m excited to work in this new area, which is a new area to Chinese. I’m ready to go to work!
I can never remember everything I want to write about. There are too many events to remember! This week, my zone leaders visited for zone conference. When one of them was getting on a spare bicycle we had, he ripped his pants. We late for our meeting, but it was the highlight of our day.
This week, I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Isberto and Elder Tan. As we did this, I was able to receive feedback on my missionary work and progress. I was told that I should be less concerned about my progression as a missionary, I’m exactly where I need to be. I can always seek improvement, but learn to enjoy the experience. The Lord doesn’t immediately require perfection, but He does require our best.
I also learned about a new…… thingy. I’m not sure how to explain this, but I can say this. We believe in a pre-earth life, spirit world, and the Holy Ghost. It is apparent that we believe in spirits. Without saying too much, I will say that the Singapore Mission, or at least this side of the world, has more experiences than Idaho with casting out spirits. It sounds like a Bible story when evil spirits possessed people or animals. These events occurred in the past, and they still occur today. Neither have angels and visions ceased, and most certainly not miracles. The mission is much more real when I have related experiences to the scriptures. Prayer has become extremely personal to me, it no longer is a “vain repetition”. As I pray now, I can feel Heavenly Father’s presence as I share my thoughts and feelings. I can feel the Holy Ghost’s presence and especially when it leaves or fades. These thoughts have helped me to realize the reality of God, that He truly is with me. It has also helped me to understand the reality of Satan, that “Satan is a real being set on destroying you”. Prior to Joseph Smith’s First Vision experience, he was “seized upon by a power from the unseen world”. I can say that I know Satan exists as a real being, which has incredible power. I can also say that I know God lives, who has more power. The reality of the continuation of the Battle in Heaven is so real! We really are in a battlefield against a dark power. However, I am ever so grateful to be a missionary, that I can serve in the Lord’s army! Christ does have power over sin and death, and extends His hand to everyone that seeks Him. The Atonement is real, both Grace and Mercy. In this battle against sin, it is everyone’s duty to share the good news!
So I guess I can officially say I believe in ghosts……. :0
I also visited a Hindu temple, which was quite an interesting place. I had to wash my feet before entering the temple, and many symbolic items and statues were around the temple. The people at the temple were very kind and reverent. I haven’t been in a Muslim Mosque yet, but I’m sure I’ll get an opportunity someday.
Loving the Mission!