The title of this email in Bahasa literally translates to "bitter and sweet". It is an expression used here to describe the ups and downs of life. I find this title fitting for the past week. A lot has happened.
Perhaps I'll start with the "pahit". Last Wednesday, a bus full of 37 people returning from Genting Highlands (a resort town on top of the mountains surrounding Kuala Lumpur) crashed through a fence and dropped down a cliff, killing all of the passengers. It has been the talk of the city, and everyone is mourning it.
A few days ago, an Elder Wiberg was hit by a car in Kuching. He broke his shoulder, femur, and hip, as well as serious brain trauma. In efforts to relieve the pressure on his brain, they performed a surgery on his head. He went into a coma on thursday morning. All of the Church in Singapore, Malaysia, and several members of the Quorom of the 12 fasted for Elder Wiberg. When Elder Scott and I were reporting with the Assistants this morning, we found out that he passed away late last night.
I got to serve with Elder Wiberg for four months here in KL. He's an awesome Elder- so humble and always happy to be around. He's a good friend to so many people here. It has been quite the morning so far. President Mains spoke with his parents, and emailed us saying that Elder Wiberg's Father said that their son has now been transferred to a new area on the other side of the veil. Please keep the Wiberg family in your prayers.
This event has reminded a lot of us, especially me, to thoroughly be grateful for every moment we have been given here. It is sobering to think that the breath of life that is in us is so fragile. It has made me reevaluate how blessed I am to be where I am today- to be able to be in such a wonderful place, surrounded by some of the greatest people I've ever met. Elder Scott and I were just talking last night about how beautiful God's plan is for each of us, especially in regards to the experiences we are able to have, and the unique individuals we get to cross paths with. I'm grateful to be here today. I'm thankful that I have another day to live, to enjoy all the blessings this life has to offer. I'm also grateful and comforted for the message the Gospel brings. I know attitudes would be much different if we didn't have the assurance and knowledge that we do. I'm grateful for you all, as well.
Despite these tragic events, this week was also filled with some of the sweetest moments of the mission. On Friday, Elder Stahle and I got to be reunited to do district leader exchanges. It was great to be back with him. He interviewed Alice, and she was baptized yesterday. She gave such a sweet testimony afterwards, that left all the expats in tears. President Woodford, our branch president, gave a nice welcome, and included a story where he came early to church, and found Alice sweeping the leaves in front of the entry way-- before she was even a member. He was amazed at her devotion, and respect for her Father in Heaven.
We had zone conference in Singapore this week, and it was great to see some old friends, eat some great food, and learn from President Mains. I always love being with the other missionaries. It's a refreshing boost.
Elder Scott and I also had a unique experience. We got to work with President Gerrit Gong, the Asia Area President and member of the 70, in some official church business here. He has asked us not to talk about the details until it is official, because it is still in the works, but if it goes through, it would drastically change the mission dynamics here. We got to go to his hotel room and discuss it with him, as well as learn from what direction he had for us. It was very exciting, and I'm excited and praying for successful results.
Hope you have a nice Sabbath day. Good luck at BYU, Eric.