Sunday, June 16, 2013
I just got off the phone with President Mains, and he asked if I would be the new Kuala Lumpur Zone Leader! I don't have to leave! In fact, I get to move to downtown KL. I'm pretty excited about that. I guess I'll be able to keep the name KL kid! It's the largest Zone in the mission. I also will have to report to Singapore once a month for Mission Leadership Council. Elder Mayo is a ZL in Singapore! Fun times ahead.
What else happened this week.
One of our investigators, over the past few weeks, has had some very significant experiences with his testimony. It has been amazing for me to see, first hand, how the gospel (properly applied) can have a healing effect on a person's life. I think what is even better is when the individual realizes that it is happening. This week, unfortunately, was the last week we would be with him for a while, because he is temporarily moving up north to work on a resort island. We've been talking to him on the phone, since he has moved, and I'm positive when he comes back (in two months) he will be baptized. He has picked September 8th as the day he wants to prepare himself to be baptized. It has been humbling to get to know him.
I'm so glad that I'm still staying in KL so that I can see how the Klang group continues. There are several people that I want to see still. As in, I hope I am able to attend their baptisms. This really is a blessing that I will still be so close to the people I have grown close to. We have an investigator, his name is Jason, and we had one of the most tender (for lack of a better word) lessons I've ever had. Tender, in that it was so evident how merciful the Lord is in remembering all of his children. Sometimes, we don't realize we need food until we feel the hunger pains in our stomach. I think this is the same in the gospel.
btw, this is really hard for me to stay focused on email, because I have 293750475 people calling me.
I also went on exchanges with Elder Connoly, who is serving in PJ, and it was a nice experience. He is leaving in just a few weeks, so it was really nice to see his perspective on things. He is having a hard time with his companion. He is holding up really well though. Ok, I don't really no what else to write.... my brain is a little jumbled at the moment.
Happy Father's Day, Dad! I plan on writing another, smaller email to you, so hold on abit.
First off, HAPPY FATHER"S DAY, DAD! I completely forgot about it until I read President Mains' email telling us to remember... haha, no one talks about it here, so I don't know if they celebrate it. Hopefully you eat something good, Boston Creme Pie?
This past week was a lot of fun. For the first time since I have been in KL, we had a two night stay in Singapore, instead of busing out on Thursday night. It was great. Elder Crum and Elder Mayo are living in the same house in Singapore, so we spent most of the time with them and their companions. Again, too much fun. We did the usual-- eat delicious singaporean food. President Mains wanted us to spend as much time at the Stake Center as possible, which was actually really fun because then we were able to be around all the missionaries. It's great to see old faces like that. We had a fun training where we teamed up with the Sabah Zone, and practiced our language skills. I made sure that i was paired with a native (even though I may have bothered others in the process...) I was so proud that he said my Bahasa was really good, but that I had a thick KL accent! haha, that's exactly what I wanted! We had a good laugh. We also had an interesting training on the language of prayer, and the reasons why we use different language. Respect, Relationship, Responsibility.
I am so happy that you guys were able to meet with Mike and Mel! I can't believe that the person I taught, who was in Klang just a little bit ago, is now eating at our house! Janelle showed me the pictures.... all of them, including the embarrassing ones -_____-
I'm glad you like them, I really think they're great. I hope he figures out what he wants to do now, I was kind of nervous about that when he left. I think he is going to need a good ward with a good Elders Quorum. I think he needs to be a young men's leader. I didn't get a chance to get his email address, so have him shoot me an email when he can.
Elder Stahle and I are sending a package home. We are trying to save money and just include it all in one package. In it is my Baju Melayu and Sarung, some books that were given me by some other Imams, and some other stuff. I think the Stahle's will contact you when it arrives. I don't think I will have enough time today to buy kaitlin a Hijab-- especially if she wants a nice one. You can buy them, literally, everywhere, but there are so many cheap looking ones-- I can't buy those ones. And as far as Sari's go, Klang has a thriving little India, with lots of silk shops where mom and dad can buy a nice one.
We had a significant experience where an investigator had an extremely challenging week, and the gospel was able to help. It is far too private to share over email, but I will say that the Book of Mormon, and the Spirit it invited, saved his life this week. It blows my mind how powerful the Book of Mormon can be when the beholder understands what it is. It also blows my mind to see how it can be just a book to someone who does not understand. This was a huge leap for this investigator, as he was able to experience that for himself. I sometimes get caught up in thinking of the Book of Mormon solely as a tool for proving the Restoration, and forget how much of a role it plays in just the everyday conversion. I think for most people, the best part about it is that it helps them draw nearer to God.
At church yesterday, in the class I taught, we had people reading out of 4 different languages.... very cool, very challenging.
Elder Gee sent me a picture from France, and I can't even imagine what it is like doing missionary work in a place like that. So beautiful.
I can't think of anything else to include. I'm getting nervous about transfers next week. I've got a lot to take care of just in case I get shipped out of here!
Monday, June 3, 2013
This week was packed with interesting events. Some much better than others. I'm not even sure where to start.
Tuesday evening was bitter sweet, because that was when we sent Mike and Mel off! We haven't been able to see them in a while because of how busy they were, but on Tuesday we were able to have a final dinner with the whole family. It was sad to see them go, but I think this will be a huge step forward for them. Especially because they are moving to Utah. I could tell that the whole Ting family was really going to miss them both. I hope their ward in Utah welcomes them and picks up right where we left off, because he still has a long way to go. I'm glad you're going to dinner with them. They have a package from me to hand off. There should also be an envelope with 2 SD cards with all of my pictures. Hope they didn't lose it! Give them my email, because I forgot to!
On Wednesday, we had an "interesting" experience. There are some flats in Klang that we have been visiting for some time. We have several investigators, and a member family that stay there. Each set of flats in Malaysia always come with its own Mosque.... this comes in later. Well.... on Wednesday, we went to these flats to meet with VJ (who was baptized yesterday, tell about that later) to review some final things with him. It was a great lesson. As we were leaving his flat, we walked out the door to find 5 Muslim men, dressed in full robes/dress, big beards, the works, standing out there waiting for us. One of them immediately walked towards me and started talking to me in quick Bahasa. I understood him, and that is what threw me off. usually, locals NEVER assume we speak Bahasa unless the KNOW otherwise.... These men knew. They went on to tell me that I was not allowed here, that I needed to leave, and that I should not come back. They kept saying, don't you know this is a "negara islam?" (islamic country). I made it very clear to them that I knew what the laws were, and that I was not in violation of any of them. One of them had their phone out, with the JAIS on the line, which is the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor, which is the ministry of islamic religion for the state. These guys were telling me that this was a rule. I didn't buy it. I started freaking out because I didn't want to talk to anybody on the phone. These guys were using zero logic. I told them that I had never preached to a Muslim, and that all we were doing was visiting a friend, and that they had no business in what we did with out friends. They didn't like that at all. VJ told them that he invited us over, and that in his house, what is discussed is none of their concern. Again, they couldn't see the logic in that. They went on to say that just the fact that people see us is an issue. These men were the local priests from the local mosque, and told us that they had been watching us for some time (I've never seen them O.o) and that they don't want us there any more. I asked again, if this was a law or just what they wanted. They wouldn't give me a straight answer. They kept asking to see my identification, and wanted me to talk to the JAIS, and at this point I was quite freaked out. Something very chilling happened right as we were about to leave, the head guy looked at us with a very eery smile and said, it would be better if we never came back. We got out of there quickly. I called around, and everyone says we were in no violation of any state or federal laws. I decided to call the zone leaders about it because it shook us up a bit, and they told President Mains. Now President Mains is worried about it and giving a training this week at Zone Conference about getting to the roots of the legalities. I was kind of embarrassed that it made it's way to the top, but the Mission leadership really needs to make it very clear, preferably something written, about what the laws are for foreigners proselyting in the country. We were told that part of town has muslim gangs, and that we should maintain a low profile. Two white guys in church clothes on bikes.... low profile? Oh well.
Even after all of that, Vijayakumar, son of Muniandy, was still baptized! It was such a good day yesterday. Everything, as usual, just seemed to work out. I think baptisms are extremely stressful for missionaries so that they can be a wonderful experience for others. It is still a wonderful experience for me, just different.
Elder Chan, the Area Seventy from our group, confirmed him, and gave an awesome, provoking blessing. There was a lot said in that prayer. I am so excited for VJ, and for all that this gospel has to offer him. I know, and as was confirmed in his blessing, that Temple work and family history is going to be huge for him. It is so nice to have so many of our friends at church so willing to help.
When VJ bore his testimony, I think everyone was blown away. He has the funniest English, extremely proper words, funny grammar, indian accent. The language itself wasn't the amazing part, but rather the confidence he had in what he was doing. VJ is so quick to obey, not because he blindly follows, but because he has humbled himself enough to know the master's call. It's interesting to reflect on how much I have learned from VJ, and his example.
I also had lots of little experiences throughout the week that have helped and made me grow. It's amazing how if you are in the right spirit and mindset, every waking moment can turn into a powerful learning experience. It is all dependent on what we want, and how we choose it.
We're flying down to Singapore on Wednesday, and will be there until Saturday. I'm pretty excited to see everyone.
Transfers are on June 20th, and I can just tell me time is short in the Kuala Lumpur area. I think yesterday was probably the last time I'll get to visit the Subang Jaya Branch. There are so many awesome members there, and here in Klang. They are so helpful with everything. They are also extremely intelligent, and full of experience. It's going to be sad when I leave :( but I'm sure wherever the next place will be full of great, different, experiences.
That's funny about Elder Matheson. Looking back, I was such a brat to him in that companionship. I've grown to appreciate him so much more since then. He called me the night before he went back to America, and we talked for about an hour. It was a great talk. I can't wait to see him again. We're going to run a triathlon together.
ok, I think that's all. Have a nice week. Take pictures of graduation. Bai