The reason why I am so late writing this letter is because for P-day today, we decided to do something different. We heard there was some good hiking inland a ways, but we didn't really know where. Someone told us about this Lambir Park, so we started looking into it. We decided as a Miri District to all go together. So. We woke up extra early this morning, and it had been pouring rain all last night, so everything was wet. Anyways, we get to the main bus station, and get on a bus headed to Sebu (a town in central Sarawak). Well, we rode it for about an hour or so, and then saw a sign for Lambir, and we all jumped and told the bus driver to stop! We got off in what was literally the middle of the jungle. It was so hot, and all the fresh rain water made it really humid. We went to the little house they have set up, and pay for our entry, and started hiking. Malaysian "Marked Trails" are not like AMerican ones... at all. In fact, they tie a little string on a couple trees and you are supposed to follow that. The ground doesn't even look like a trail. It is like a hunt for the right colored string on the tree. Anyways, after hours of hiking we had some cool finds. We went to a water fall and took some pictures in front of it. We also went to this point called Bukit Pantu. It was such a HARD hike. The whole time, I was imagining what Eric would have been like had he come on the hike...... let's just say he wouldn't have been invited... not that he would have wanted to go! It was crazy. In the middle of the Jungle. We kind of got lost a couple of times... that was frightening. The hike to the top of Bukit Pantu was so worth it. It put you on top of this cliff that looked inwards towards the jungles of Borneo. It was kind of spooky being in there. It was like the jungles you see in movies. There were huge ants (maybe over an inch, and super fat) that would travel in these huge lines. They were so big that you couldn't smash them easily with your shoe. Oh. Other bug problem. They told us at the front, if it started to rain hard, to come back to the house IMMEDIATELY. The reason why, is because there are leeches all over the jungle, and when it rains, the leeches jump of the trees and will grab on to you. I, of course, thought this was a bunch of nonsense, and didn't take any heed. Well, the trees were still wet and within a kilometer or so into the jungle, THERE WERE LEECHES. They weren't what I was expecting. THey were narrow and orange. Some were small, others pretty big. They are also extremely fast. I watched one bolt up Elder Putnam's leg! I looked down at my shoe at one point and saw ten on my shoe. I caught one on my foot and ripped it off, but it was too late- the leech had already bitten so now my shoe has a bunch of blood stains. One of the sisters also got bit pretty bad and there was a bunch of blood. I'm trying to upload pictures as we speak. I don't think I have ever sweated more in my life. Probably because I have never climbed things so steep, so steamy. I also had never had to use a vine to swing over a river to get to the next part (that was actually very fun, I have a video) So lots of adventures today. Oh, and when we were done, we went back to the main road and tried to hitch hike back to Miri. We saw a bus come by, but he wouldn't stop. Finally, a bus came. The problem was that some lady had a bunch of durian, so the whole bus smelled like rotten onions. Lovely. Not to mention a bunch of stinky, sweaty missionaries. And now I am sitting in an internet kedai, in gross clothes, covered in dirt, emailing you.
Oh. My companion, Elder Matheson, is district leader, so he has to do splits with everyone. That means, I get to do splits with everyone! This week, I got to go on splits with Elder Chong. He is one of the chinese elders, who is from Sitiawan. He doesn't speak a whole lot of english, so I got to learn a ton of Chinese. It was so fun. I really hope, somehow, I will be able to learn a lot here. It was funny, because he came to our area, so he wrote out a prayer in Malay so he could contribute to the lesson. He is a pretty cool guy. He worked in a bakery for three years, and wants to work in a bakery when he gets older. We made pancakes for him, since he had never had them, and I made homemade stove syrup for him. He ate so many of them. and he put so much butter on them.... haha
This week, one of our investigators, whose name is Dangkan, fed us Biowak. Biowak is the iban word for monitor lizard. I'm uploading a picture of it now. He told us he caught it in the gutters by our house >.< Anyways, I ate some. it was pretty good. White meat, like chicken... but somehting was off. Oh, we made Fajitas yesterday with that fancy spice packet you sent. SO GOOD. It was the best home made meal we've had yet! Tortillas aren't a thing here, so we bought prathas (a malay flat bread thing) that you fry at home. They were chili garlic flavored. They were so good. We're still talking about it.
I got the package too! That was really good how you did it so it was actually addressed to the Hodders. That way, they can go pick it up with out having me there. The caramels were very good. And all of the other stuff was good too. WHen you get a chance, you should take some pictures of Utah/home/you guys and put it in a little album so I can show some of the people here. They love pictures. ALso, everyone is emailing me about holiday stuff... and it is kind of depressing because it is so hot here and no sign of holiday stuff :( Everyone was jealous of the pumpkin pie stuff you sent! Except, we have no oven to cook it.... oh well, we'll find one! Could you send some Christmas music? Sheet music? I miss it! Elder Bodhaine played sleighride in the house and I about died. Hopefully when we go to Singapore we'll be able to get some. There is one thing I want for Christmas. I really want an electronic dictionary that has English, Chinese, and Malay. Is that even a thing? You should look into it. I would love that. Even just a English - Chinese one.
I'm sorry the video didn't upload last time. It took soo long. It was a video of the storm, and is SO COOL. Oh well, I guess I'll show you when I get home. I think I included a couple of the aftermath in this upload.
That is exciting to hear about WHitman and his farewell. That all happened so quickly! I can't believe I wasn't there for his call, his opening, his temple experience, or his farewell! I hope he is excited! Mariel has been keeping me updated, because he hasn't!! It is kind of sad that he is leaving so close to the Holidays... but hopefully he will have an awesome experience in the field. I'm telling myself that so that my Christmas here will be really fun!
So President Mains has asked all of us to find 4 hours of service per week. This week, one of the ward members asked Elder Chong and I to help her out. They live in this wooden house on stilts over a mud field. Getting to the house is a disaster, because there is so much mud! A couple blocks away, there is a huge pile of rocks and crumbled cement. So. She had us wear these woven straw baskets that have one loop that goes on your arms and head, so the basket can rest on your back, and stuff these baskets with rocks. It was very tiring. Oh, I forgot to tell you why. She wants to make a walk way to her house, so people don't have to get muddy. It was fun, but a lot of work. Got my work out in for the day! It is interesting, because there is so much that needs to be done here, but the idea of service projects isn't really a thing here. We pray a lot for opportunities to serve. Somehow, they always show up... especially when you least expect them.
We also had an interesting experience with an investigator. We have been teaching the parents of a child who was baptized (the missionaries before us did that), but the word of wisdom has been a huge stumbling block. The wife is very quiet. We assumed they just didn't want, because the husband never kept the commitments. Well, we went last night to drop them, but the wife spoke up and said she wanted to be baptized. We asked her why, and she said that when she saw the picture of her son standing there alone in his white clothes, she felt like she should have been there. Her sister is one of teh strongest members in teh branch, and has been talking to her. The real issue we are facing is that she can't read, so she has never read the book of mormon. At that moment in the lesson, the idea came into both of our heads, that we should ask the Husband (even though he doesn't want) to read the book of mormon to his wife. He himself has never really read it. he agreed. This story doesn't probably make a whole lot of sense, but it was a very amazing experience to see how ideas can be put into our heads by the spirit if we are earnestly seeking to follow it. This is kind of like the last try with this family, so we're praying that this will help them. The book of mormon is most definitely the most powerful tool we have. Everyone should be constantly reading it. If you don't have a reading habit... start one. We will all be held accountable for the opportunities we had to learn from it.
This email feels really rushed, probably because we got here way late and still haven't grocery shopped.....
one last funny story.
we have an area called taman tunku that is pretty far away, so we usually ride the bus out there. Well, on the way back last week, the bus driver literally slammed on the brakes, gets off the bus, and walks away. The engine was still on.... the keys in the ignition.... and the driver just left. We sat there for ten minutes... not exactly sure what to do.... finally, he came back, and continued driving. As if nothing had happened. Very strange.
oh, I tried emailing the scouts last week, but they didn't respond. I don't have their email addresses right I think. I feel really bad that I didn't write Jeff. Especially because now I know how important letters are. I should get back in contact with him.
ok, I'm going now.