I don't even know what happened this past week. I'm not sure if I've ever been more busy in my life, or if I just went crazy. It was a very nice week, full of rewarding, as well as humbling, experiences. I'm not sure where to start.
Well, the Malacca Elders called and needed a baptismal interview done, so we made plans to go to Malacca at 3:00 for a 7:30 appointment, and then just bus back. Insert Murphy's law. My companion was positive the buses to Malacca left from this one station called Plaza Rakyat, but when we arrived there, we were told they haven't left from that station for 3 years..... we then took an expensive and long taxi ride to the other side of town to a place called Tasik Bandar Selatan, where they have a very nice bus depot. We finally left at 5:00, (I got a 2 hour nap ^__^) and then met up wiht the elders there. At first, the family we were supposed to interview wasn't there, and didn't end up coming back until 8:40.... keep in mind our bus leaves the station at 10:00.
She came in, and seemed very flustered. She is a single mom, with 3 kids varying in age. As we first began to talk with her, we realized that she just wasn't ready. We didn't want to interview her, but with what time we had, thought we would talk to her. At first, she seemed very indifferent, and almost as if she had no idea what we were talking about. There were 4 missionaries there, and all of us were trying to play, guess what her real problem is, or what we thought it was, and what we thought the answer would be. I got frustrated and sat there as I heard people going through the motions. After getting no where, I got an impression to thank her for letting us in, for letting us meet her family, and for raising such wonderful children. It went silent, and then she burst into tears. She opened up about many things the missionaries had no idea about. She has many challenges, and her family is what keeps her going. She admitted she needed to investigate further to find out if this is really what she wants. We again thanked her, and left her with some scriptures.
It was such an interesting experience, and after reviewing that story, I realized it didn't do it justice. Sometimes we get into the routine of things, and think we automatically know the situation, know the answers, and know how to help. While doing all of this, we miss the most important part: listening. Whether it is listening to the Spirit, listening to what the other person says, or just closing our own mouth to understand before being understood, we have to first listen if we want to be able to address or hlep a problem. I am studying a lot about the role of personal revelation in one's life, and realize that most of it comes when we take the time to quiet ourselves, humble ourselves, and take the time to listen to the Spirit.
We barely made it on the bus back, and I sat next to a Melayu kid about our age. We ended up talking the entire bus ride back to KL. It was fantastic. He had such a great story. He was essentially starting over in KL after a very hard time in Malacca. He was shocked to hear about what we did, and that we weren't like the movies.... he told us he thought all Americans were like what he saw in the party movies.... >.< It was really sweet seeing his family wave goodbye at the bus station-- you could really tell he is loved. It also reminded me of how much worth and investment is in each soul. Ironically enough, this kids name was Fahmi, which in Arabic means understanding, or Malay, kefahaman. He told me how he has learn to understand so much more to life from experience. He told me this great line in Malay, "Pengalaman mendewasakan kita" which translates to experience makes us grow/mature, but sounds 10x nicer in malay. How true! He told me I would get a lot of that while in Malaysia... how true, again!
Well, I was so caught up talking with Fahmi that I didn't remember to take my scriptures out of the bus pouch in front of me. I didn't realize till we got home that I didn't have my quad- the ones I've had since Seminary, with all my notes and annotations! I was very depressed and felt any attempts to retrieve the scriptures would be of no use. We decided, the next day, to go back all the way to Tasik Bandar Selatan, and ask if they had seen anything. We went into customer service, and I told them that I had left a very special book on a bus last night, and that I needed to get it back. They told me the bus had already left for up north near thailand, and that it had no plans of coming back to Kuala Lumpur. She told me she would try calling the driver, but that I should go grab a drink and wait 15 minutes. When we came back, she informed us that she had spoken with the driver, who went back to check, and found the scriptures in the pouch where I left them. He went around and found a friend who was heading back to KL, and asked his friend if he would take this book back to TBS. I went back the next day, and was able to have my, as they put it, "bible book" back. What a blessing that was. As we were walking out of the station, I heard someone yell, ELDERS! I turned around to see a large African man smiling and running towards us. It turns out this man was from Ghana, and was moving to Malacca, and didn't know where the church was, or even if there was church here. He said he had been praying to find out. It just so happened I had to go retrieve my scriptures at the very same time at the same bus station outside of KL. God works in mysterious ways!
Alice, our most progressing investigator, is doing so well. She is so sweet. There was a child of record baptism at our chapel on saturday from another branch, so we invited her to come see it. She did, and brought some of her family. She was so happy the entire time, and we talked about her baptism date. It just so happened that President and Sister Mains were randomly in KL that day, and decided to drop in. So Alice was able to meet them, and make her feel at home. Alice repeatedly talks about how much our church is like a family. One of the talks at church yesterday was from an expat visitor and he talked about how the church is like a refuge and home wherever you are. Alice says it felt like home the moment she walked in. Alice and I also had a long discussion about the interpretation of Lehi's dream. She is so great!
That same day, I had one of the most horrific experiences of my life. Alice's sister in law, took us to meet with her nephew. It was so inhumane how this poor man was living, and how the tenants of his apartment had a total disregard for his well being. I don't even want to think about the scene we saw! It made me very grateful for the life I've been given, the hand I was dealt. I hope Eric would never leave me in a condition as this brother had left his!
Elder Scott and I went to Chilis on our yearmark and bought a nice dinner. Little did I know one of the expat visitors would take us to Outback steakhouse the next night, otherwise I wouldn't have spent all that money! We didn't grocery shop last week, too busy, so this week i'm going to get some good food for the celebration. I'm buying some bratwurst and eggnog :)
My hand hurts from typing all this! ok bai
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