Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 22, 2013 – Follow Your Promptings - Week 14 in Kuching

So basically this week was pretty good.

We finally got Elder Fergusons bike on Tuesday and also went to meet our investigator Stephanie for the last time with the other Matang Elders. Wednesday we went exploring in some of our area that i had not been before. It turned out to be mostly a huge Islamic water kompung (kompung like kompung Kudei but with water under the crappy walkways and sunken boats everywhere) however we did see some Christian houses and plan to go back to look closer. Towards the end of the day we got totally rained out by the beginning of the monsoon. Basically we are moving from the dry season now towards the rainy season again.

Thursday we went with brother Dunggot to Siol Kandis to meet with less active members. It went pretty well. One of the less actives we went to see, his name is Brother Jitun. We thought he was a member, however, it turned out he wasn’t. See, he had come to church with his wife 2 weeks before but because of Singapore we had not been able to see them again. We found out that he had been being taught in 2011 and that his wife and kids were baptized but he was not. We were able to find his old teaching record and it seems the reason he was dropped was because he could not attend church because of work. He has the same problem now, however he has a strong desire. He gets public holidays off and the fact that he chose to come to church on his only off day show that. Now for the good news! He is currently in an "observation period" for his work. It will last until December or so. After that he gets Sunday off. He said that he would like to learn and that he will start coming once he has Sunday off. !!!!!!!

That evening we went contacting in emart and ended up contacting 2 guards, Peter and Michael. They both seemed pretty interested and also Michael can speak pretty good English.

This week I saw 2 scorpions. One right next to my shoes when we came out of someone’s house (from now on I will be shaking out my shoes before I put them on). The other we found out while exploring on Friday. We played with it a bit and got it to sting a stick a couple times.

Friday we also went to the Sentosa sisters baptism. Lately they have been having problems with the font at the KDC. The auto plugger was rosok (broken) so they had to put a boulder over the drain. Also the water from the font was brown so they tried to use the emergency fire hoses. No water, (not much use in an emergency huh). So basically the guy was baptized in brown mystery water with a boulder plugging the drain.

One other thing happened this week. Last Sunday after helping the other Elders locate a former investigator close to their house, we started riding back to our house. We got a little ways when an old guy said hello to us. People saying hello is very normal. Everyone from the guy on the motto passing us to the guy digging a ditch says hello. Not sure why but my bicycle basically turned itself around and I started engaging him in conversation. I found out that his name was Christopher Tuhah and that he had been baptized in 2007 but had never received the priesthood. He is a construction worker and construction workers here live on the jobsite in huts like the ones down by the creek. Thus when the project he was working was finished he moved. After several moves and years he lost contact with the church. We told him that there was a church not a 15 minute walk from the construction site he was working on. As we continued to talk we found out that he only had the BOM in English and we were able to give him one in Malay. We asked if we could come visit him on Saturday and he said yes. We also invited him to church on Sunday and arranged to meet him Sunday morning so we could show him where it was. We were very discouraged Saturday night when he didn’t show where we were supposed to meet. I figured that he had forgot and that was the end of it. The next morning we went to the meeting spot at the arranged time and he was also a no show... We get to the church a couple minutes later and guess what? He was already there! With the info we gave him he located the church on his own and walked there earlier in the morning. He stayed for all 3 hours (something people in Malaysia have a hard time with) and told us that he really enjoyed it. He gave us his number and asked us to visit him later in the week.

Something I have learned so far is that every day there will be someone to talk to or meet with or share the gospel with and that there is also always a purpose for it. If some frustrating delays that had happened earlier the first Sunday had not happened, we would not have met him.

Sincerely Elder Halpin

The city of Johor Bahru on takeoff from Singapore

Scorpion #1

Sunken boat in water kompung

September 15, 2013 – Transfers! - Week 13 in Kuching

Awesome week. So after the crazy first couple days with Elder Berger saying goodbye and us packing, things got quite a bit more relaxed. After Elder Berger left, I went to hang with Elder Robbins who was also in training and his trainer became a Zone Leader as well, until we flew out on Thursday morning. We helped the senior couples make book of remembrances. A "book of remembrance" is a super cool thing that is given to a recent convert after they join the church. Basically it has places for pictures, testimonies of yourself and the missionaries who taught you, places to write spiritual experiences, places to put your priesthood ordination certificates and line of authority and a section to start your family history. It’s really cool because it helps the RC to remember, obviously, but it also helps to have things to work toward and if they don’t have a calling yet you can help them start their family history. I will probably make them for my kids.

Then on Thursday morning we went to Singapore.

Oh Singapore..... I don’t know how to describe Singapore.

I hate it and I love it at the same time.

First off why I love it. So first off it’s a break. Secondly there are some really cool things to see in Singapore. Also its where you get your packages (thanks guys, the chocolate is great) and mail. It’s also where you go for zone conferences so you get to see a lot of missionaries and get some good training from the President. As a side note I like it because it shows what real capitalism can do.

Secondly, why I hate Singapore. First off I’m out of my area away from my members and investigators. Secondly its dang expensive for somebody on pension of about 200 us dollars. I also don’t like traveling. It’s all on foot by bus or by the MRT subway, it’s just awful. The 2 biggest reasons I don't like Singapore though 1: There are so many people, people here there and everywhere. No matter where you are or where you look there is literally about 100 people in your view. The second reason I don’t like it is that it is materialism central. Basically Singapore is one big shopping mall. So ya.

But anyway, we got to Singapore and after some trainings and such we got our greenies (greenies are “new to the field” Missionaries). Mine so happens to be called Elder Spencer Gordon Ferguson. He’s from Birmingham Alabama and is 19 years old. He really likes music. He has been in 4 Broadway musicals, Beauty and the Beast as Chip, Wicked as a munchkin, Fiddler On The Roof as a Jewish Boy and Les Miserable as Gavroche, the boy who jumps out of the barricade to collect the ammo and gets killed. In Les Mis he was on the main cast and actually had an IMDB profile, but since he hasn’t done anything in a year or more it has now been deleted.  After that he went to BYU for a year or so before his mission.

So ya.

We tried to get bikes for him and Elder Lundquist (Elder Tyler’s greenie, the other set of Matang Elders) but today being the Sarawak Independence Day, there was a no show at the bike shop. We’ll try again tomorrow.

Stephenie is doing well, she continues to go to church, and read. I will only get to teach her one more time though, she lives in the other Matang Elders area.

Katherine, that’s a great picture!!! 

Gladys, I know that you can do it!!!!

Adam, make sure you actually read for seminary, it makes it so much better.

Elder Halpin

"Three Generations"
Elder Berger on my left, Elder Ferguson on my right.



September 8, 2013 – Training in Matang!!! Week 12 in Kuching

Matthew: Training in Matang!!!!

Dad:  That’s it? You’re entire email for this week? I assume, transfers and you are training a new Elder?

Matthew: Yep, that's it.. lol. no

Matthew: Yep, Transfers. Elder Berger is going to be a Zone Leader in Singapore and I am training in Matang 2, the area I started with. Everyone in my MTC group is training a new Elder in the areas they were originally trained in.

Dad:  So, does that mean you have a new companion?  Who is he?  Have they split the Matang area into two sections again?

Matthew:  Yes. I won’t know until I go to Singapore to pick him up later this week. That also means that I will be picking up my package too. Yep, the Matang branch will be split again. It's President Mains' strategy. Because we will be receiving 75 new Elders by the end of the year all of our existing areas will be full leaving the President 2 options. Open new areas or split existing ones. Since our overreaching goal is to strengthen the Branches until we can establish Stakes and Wards he will be splitting the areas and doubling up the missionaries in all three of the main church centers in the mission, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching. Then in a few years or so hopefully the church will be strong enough in the centers to start reaching out into the kompungs and outlying towns.

Dad: So, are you going to be sending an email with your weekly updates or are these individual emails going to be it for this week?

Matthew: I'm working on it as we speak

Below is Matthew's update for this week:

This week was pretty good.

On Tuesday, after district meeting, we helped the new Chinese Elders get oriented in Kuching.

On Wednesday we met a bunch of members and also helped with some other stuff.
Thursday we stayed in, Elder Berger was somewhat sakit (sick). We also had a lot of paperwork and planning to do because we weren't sure if we would be here the next week and we kind of suck at paperwork.

Friday we did a bunch of work, normal day.

Saturday I realized that one of my rear spokes was broken. So most of the day was spent getting it fixed.

Sunday we ate at one of our members house, really good. First they give us burgers and milo and then after we were finished and full, we find out that was just an appetizer.  The main course was kompung rice, (non processed all natural grown in the kompung white rice) with sayur (vegetables) bobbi (pork) and fermented mangos (actually ok) and fermented durian and dates (absolutely the worst thing I've eaten in my entire life).
Lot of fun. I'll send some pics as well.

Elder Halpin

Milos and Burgers.

The sayur and bobbi in the dish together.
Also the fermented mangoes

The dreaded dish of the night,
fried fermented durian and dates

September 1, 2013 – Back to Work - Week 11 in Kuching

This week was half and half. So first off our week didn’t really start until Wednesday because of all the goings on. But anyway we continue to teach less actives and recent converts. Thursday we taught Anaias who was baptized by Elder Trotter right before he left. She is really awesome, we have already finished the recent convert lessons and now since she said she might go on a mission she is teaching us all the lessons. We continue to teach Brother Jini too.
On Thursday we had dinner with one of our families, brother Dungott (he is just like grandpa, no joke), Sister Dina their daughter Dorina and Alexsius who is a returned missionary boarding with them until he goes back to Sabah. We learned how to make rice "holders." You put uncooked rice into them and put them in a bucket of warm water and the rice will slowly expand and fill the cavity overnight taking on the flavor of the leaves.

On Friday we went on splits with the Zone Leaders. I stayed in Matang with Elder Madsen. We visited several families and also with Stephenie our investigator that you are referring to. She wasn’t progressing for a while but it was because the family had to go back to kompung. Now she is back on date for Nov 9. But ya. Sister Mihi, our investigators mother’s husband works somewhere in the jungle doing something. Anyway he came in contact with some orang asli (original people, people who still live like they lived a couple hundred years ago) and they gave him a baby monkey whose mother had died. So ya they have a pet baby monkey. They said they will return it to kompung when it gets big.
On Saturday we went to brother Dungott’s Palm Oil farm. Lots of fun. Basically one person cuts the palm oil kernel out of the tree with a 30 foot long scythe and the other person uses a 3 foot long spike to impale it and haul it to his lorry through the swamp. We did it for like 7 hours... I saw three snakes. It is much like bucking hay. Just as we were driving down the road from the farm the lorry slid into a ditch of sorts. Took us like 1 hour to get it unstuck. Anyway Elder Berger had never done anything quite like it and was completely exhausted.

Sunday was a normal Sunday.
Nice Adam on your accomplishment of tree cutting.

The Zone Leaders are going to Singapore next week for MLC and will pick up my package then.
About Malaysian names.
They have no surnames. Their names go something like this "Robert anak John" (Robert the child of John)  and then Robert’s children would be "anak Robert" therefore one family can have three "last names" the fathers, the mothers and the children’s.

Iban vs. Malay.
Iban is the tribal language used by the Ibans, who are most of the people we work with. The thing that is tough is that it is only used by Ibans so anyone else can’t really understand. Therefore the missionaries learn Malay so they can speak to everyone. The thing is tough is that most Ibans, especially the less educated ones, compur Iban into their speech like crazy, making it hard to understand. Some of it is very similar and many missionaries who spend enough time with them learn to speak it pretty fluently. For instance in Malay the word "jalan" means road, way, path or movement of yourself or others. In Iban the word is "jalai" very similar but not quite the same so it can easily throw you if you’re not careful.
They are working on an Iban translation of the Kitab Mormon so that will be good, and I soon will have a name tag in Iban.

Thanks, love Elder Halpin

Me with the "Rice Holder"

This is a "real" baby monkey!

The Dungott Family!

Cutting down the palm oil kernel!

Hucking the palm oil kernel into the truck.


August 27, 2013 – Prayers ... BOM in Malay! - Week 10 in Kuching

This past week has been pretty hard for me.

To start off when we were in Singapore I learned that my MTC companion, Elder Rodriguez, chose to go home for personal reasons. Really a downer.

Zone conference was actually pretty awesome. We went to several trainings and also learned that sometime (maybe) in the future we might use Facebook and other online tools to share the gospel. We also jalan jalaned around Singapore and saw a lot of the sights. Then we got The Book of Mormon in Malay!!!!!!!! Totally boss. When I read it, it actually makes sense! So ya that was awesome. It should help our missionary efforts a lot.

We got home Friday afternoon and around 9:30-10ish we received a text from our Zone Leaders saying that Elder Wiberg, one of the other missionaries in Kuching, and Elder Berger’s MTC companion, had been hit by a car going about 60 mph and was unconscious and on his way to the hospital. We both prayed and started fasting for him immediately. Throughout the night we learned about his condition and what was going on.

President and Sister Mains came to Kuching and we had a devotional Saturday night. It was very spiritual.

He passed away Sunday night at about 11, but we didn't learn about it till yesterday morning. There was a memorial service held for him yesterday evening and we all went to that.

The entire thing was very hard for our whole zone.

However, it has also been very spiritual. His companion, Elder Hirschi, said that he felt the Saviors hand in it from the beginning. Elder Gong, our Asia area seventy, said that he has just been transferred to teaching those in the spirit world. Elder Berger, my companion, had a very spiritual experience and heard his voice tell him he was fine. We learned that the Quorum of the Twelve and the Prophet had been informed and were praying for him. I know that it happened for a purpose and that he is continuing the work on the other side. I know that through the Atonement of Christ families can be together forever and that all the pain we feel can be healed. I know that I’m doing the Lord’s work and that He will move it forward regardless of any setbacks there may be.

This has really strengthened me and made me driven to work harder.

Sorry for all the dreariness.

I love you all.

Love Elder Halpin


August 18, 2013 – Concert On My Mission? - Week 9 in Kuching

No Facebook yet Micaela.

Sounds like fun at home.

Reid, that’s awesome!!!!

This week has been pretty haybot.

So we have been meeting all of our goals since Elder Berger’s recovery. This week we did a lot of less active work. I also went on splits since Elder Berger is the new district leader. I stayed in our area and the Elder that came here was also trained in Matang, so he showed me around Siol Kandis and we went with Sister Moonah (the nicest person ever) to a bunch of less actives here.

Jordan the investigator won’t answer our texts or our calls. Teresa doesn’t want.... Ugh...

We have some new investigators though, Lubot Gundi and his wife Indak. Indak is the cousin of Sister Gulong, one of our members. We met them for the first time on Friday and we go back again tonight. We will be going over the restoration pamphlet with them tonight.

Also we are teaching a newly returned from kompung less active member’s daughter who wants to be baptized. She’s on date for a couple weeks from now so we will see how that goes.

We also have some really good leads on where to find more people. When we were at Lubot’s they told us that one of the apartment blocks, block k is full of Ibans. We will definitely be knocking that block. Also when I and Elder Stewen (pronounced "Steven," the elder I went on splits with) were in Siol Kandis we had about an hour before a scheduled lesson, so we crossed the highway to see what was on the other side. We found this trail into the jungle and followed it. When we arrived at the other end we found that we were in a completely different kompung, Siol Batu. We will have to return and see if we can find any Christians in it.

Yes I’m taking the pills....

So yep, pretty normal week.

Final list for the box. 

1. music on thumb drive; all the spiritual and classical music you can find/fit on it.
2. chocolate; blue and red symphony bars sound like heaven.
3. like 3 bottles of maple stuff.
4. deodorant.
5. Gatorade packets and or tub of powder. please no grape or fruit punch flavor if possible. (so much better for rehydrating than plain water, also not nearly as bad for you as 100 plus or revive)

I’m pretty sure that’s it.

Mom since your bedridden, may I suggest the May 1972 Ensign. Also "Accepted of the Lord" from the July 1976 Ensign. the last one is super cool deep doctrine stuff.

Also, the reason I was not able to email last Monday is because we were doing service all day.We setup a concert venue and then attended the concert as security and then took it down at the end. The band was Beyond 5, (a Christian boy band) they were touring Asia as something for the Asia youth. So while I wasn’t really into the music, who gets to say they went to a concert on their mission?

As always, sincerely Elder Halpin.
Concert security officer!

Beyond 5 concert in Kuching, Malaysia

August 13, 2013 – "Stage Fright" Teaching In Malay - Week 8 in Kuching

So this week was pretty sick (literally).

First off, I taught Sunday school for the first time. So I stand up to teach and proceed to forget all my Malay. I struggled on, and was about halfway done expounding the Articles of Faith when suddenly I was informed I was out of time, I was told I had an hour and I was perfectly on track for that, what I didn’t realize was that sacrament let out 25 minutes late, ugh... Next week I will finish.
Anyway, since I only have 5 weeks of training left and I’m likely to be training in the next few months, (the mission will be receiving 75ish new missionaries by the end of November) we have stepped up the pace of things a lot. I carry the phone all the time now and I also lead on the bikes to all of our destinations.

Anyway, last week, so we finish emailing and ride back to Matang, we had to stop a ton of times because Elder Berger was sick. He was sick for like 3 days. He basically slept or moaned on the couch the whole time – poor guy.
After that, on Saturday, we went out but our appointments fell through. So we went to someone’s birthday and talked to a ton of members. Also got stuffed on Iban food.

Sunday after church we thought we had an appointment with one of our members and one of her friends who came to church with her but she didn't show, go figure, anyway we went and taught Bro Jini, one of our recent converts. He lives in Siol Kandis. He can’t read (were starting to teach him) and has no electricity (we teach by oil lamp). He works a dozen hours every day and then works 24 hours on Saturday so he can come to church on Sunday. He’s super awesome and we've been teaching him the recent convert lessons which are basically the lessons all over again but in great depth and also lesson 5 which is about the temple and other stuff like that. He’s already got all his family names ready for the temple (Manila or Hong Kong) and is also is preparing to receive the Melchizedek priesthood. Anyway he’s one of the coolest members in Matang.

For all the stuff that happened in the last 2 days I will wait to share until next week because I don’t have a way to share photos for that.

Micaela, that’s really cool.
Dad, keep working hard!

Reid, how did your mini mission go?

So anyway, that box. Send like 2 or 3 maple extract bottles. The maple syrup here is gross and expensive. I’ll make a final list of stuff i would like and send it next week.
Elder Halpin

Brother Jini wearing a Christmas hat.

August 6, 2013 – Matang Area is All Ours - Week 7 in Kuching

So this week was interesting.
First off Grandpa, I will use caps.

First off, transfers. So as predicted Elder Berger and I are to stay here. if you remember Matang Branch, our area, was split into 2 areas the transfer I came in. Well, Elder Trotter went home and Elder Johnson was transferred to Tauwau?( not sure on the spelling).  Thus we now have the entire Matang Branch. The distance from the furthest outlying settlement we go to and the furthest kompung in the other direction is 2 hours of hard peddling.

We picked up a couple new investigators with the other area, so now we are very busy. Anyway, the next day was spent getting things ready for transfers. Also Elder Berger became the District Leader so we had to get a bunch of stuff ready for him. The next day we had Elder Johnson because Elder Trotter left Tuesday night. Anyway we took a grand tour of the new areas and people, it was a lot of fun.

The rest of the week was full of missionary work as usual.

Monday was pretty awesome. Elder Trotter got released over the phone and came on vacation to Malaysia, so we went to Bako national park. Him and his family, they used to live in Spokane, they also took all our phone numbers and are going to call you guys in a couple weeks. Basically Bako is a peninsula into the South China Sea. You start out by taking these little boats to a beach where you wade ashore. Then you hike. We saw a wild Boer and some proboscis monkeys. We hiked to a couple other beaches, one that had a HUGE cliff overlooking it. The trails are basically made out of tree roots and are surrounded by jungle and boulders. In some places the trail is rickety ladders and walkways like the ones in kompung Kudei. The top of the peninsula is actually a plateau, it was really interesting because it was actually really deserty on the top. Anyway, we ended at a beach where we hung for a while before calling the boat to take us back.

On the way home we were going over the Matang bridge when suddenly "pishhhhhhhh". My tire popped. We were in a hurry to get home before 6 o’clock so we could go proselyting, but it didn’t happen because all the bike shops were closed and we had to walk home, it took about an hour and a half. So grand total Bako and walking home we walked about 12-15 kilks. Anyway, we meant to go emailing the next morning. Didn’t happen. We were one of about 3 companionships that had bike problems, so district meeting didn’t start until 12 when it was supposed to start at 10:30. Anyway, Elder Berger also got sick yesterday so it was kind of awful.

So here’s to a good day today.

Dad, or maybe Mom, whoever was talking about the ants, I think I saw that movie when I was a kid on TV and it scared the crap out of me. Also there is a MacGyver episode like that as well.

Photos. I’ll send a bunch, in several emails, I’ll also send an email with some stuff that would be nice to have. I’ll be in Singapore on like the 21st or 22nd for Zone Conference so that package would be sick.

Dad that sounds great, even though you can’t use the machine, your knees are still getting better.

Elder Halpin
This weeks pictures are all from Bako National Park


July 28, 2013 – Most Boss Week Yet - Week 6 in Kuching

So we get transfers today. It's like a 95% probability that I'll be staying here and that Elder Berger will stay too.

This week was the most boss week yet. We met all of our goals except for getting someone on date but that will happen next week. Anyway, besides the investigators from last week we found a guy named Estonny and either his wife or twin sister named Jaquline? (long story). Anyway they're both 20 and we found them through the guys younger brother. Basically we found his younger brother (19) named Apet, through tracting. He said that we could come back and teach him, but when we did he totally ignored us (we could hear him talking but he wouldn’t answer the door). Anyway we left him alone for a couple weeks and then decided to just go to his house again. We did and he and his older brother were working on a moto. We started talking to his older brother who is going to school and working and he said we could come teach him. When we did he, Jaquline, Apet and their mother (not sure, maybe an aunt or something) were there. Apet was not interested at all and left after like 5 minutes. The older lady left after like 30 seconds. Estonny and Jaquline were really interested though and participated by answering questions and such, so it was cool.

Last Monday we went jungle trekking. Basically we found a trail into the jungle and followed it with machetes. Super epic. The trail that we took went through the jungle for a while and then into this wetland surrounded by jungle. On the edge of the wetland as I was looking up at a jungle tree I saw a bundle of leaves. On closer inspection it turned out to be a red ant nest. Not sure how they managed to hook the leaves together, but they did.

Katherine: of course I can baptize you when I get back. My food is mostly good and half healthy.

David: weapons.... many. The Malay/Muslims have these things called kris. Basically it’s a long curvy dagger. The Penangs (west Malaysia) use these things called sumpits, basically a 5-8 foot blowgun with a bayonet/dagger/spear blade attached to the end. Most tribes have swords and shields of course as well. I have had the privilege to hold/swing a real Iban and a real Penang sword. They either have handles carved out of wood or antler/bone. Both blades were slightly curved, the Iban more so. The Iban sword was much lighter and is more built for quick slashes and stabs whereas the Penang blade was much heavier and built for hacking. The picture I sent you before was of an Iban sword and shield. Also, happy birthday!

So quick question, since my birthday is coming up, would it be alright if I bought a sumpit? I can get one for about 40-50 us dollars, much cheaper than the sword and shield. Please? Pretty please?

Adam: sounds like a lot of fun.

So probably tonight I will finish the old testament, and thus have completed reading the whole standard works.

Oh Mom I forgot you, the walkways are anywhere from 1'-6' off the ground. Also the car is probably an ancient Produa or Proton, Malaysian brands (they all suck).

Love you all, I’ll send some pictures in a different email.

Elder Halpin

Me holding some bananas.
The only problem with grey pants.
The ant nest.

July 21, 2013 – Whumdinger of a week - Week 5 in Kuching

So this week has been the best yet.

I got my bike so we don’t have to use the piece of junk one anymore... That being said I forgot to take a picture before we ripped off the rear tire… I’ll probably have to stage a picture now.

We taught a bunch of lessons to less actives this week and 1 actually came to church yesterday!!!

We also got 3-4 new investigators!

3 were from a referral. Adrary, a 20 something year old single guy, his mom Bali and his friend Ephul? We’re not actually sure of his name. Anyway we taught them yesterday, and have a return appointment. At first it was going well and Adrary was really interested, his mother less so. Then his friend finally showed up (he was late and we had a different appointment to get to). Apparently his friend had been taught before about a year ago but got hung up on the whole "the bible says there will be no more prophets after Jesus, and no more scripture either" before he showed, Adrary was answering questions and providing input and it was great. After ephul showed up though he just deferred all his questions to him. So our next lesson will focus on getting him over that.

The other almost investigator (I say almost because she won’t technically be an investigator until tomorrows lesson with her) is the daughter in law of the less active who came to church. She said that she wanted to learn so we will start teaching tomorrow.

Next thing that happened. So we’re at this mainly Malay kompung looking for Christians. No luck with the few we found and there was only one walkway left. So we start going and Elder Berger was a ways ahead of me, he got to the door of the first house and someone was in it so he started talking before I got there. I was about 10 meters behind him and then suddenly I heard this guy yell "hey buddy leave, I don’t want you here!" So I’m standing here looking at this guy stride towards us, the BIGGEST Malaysian I’ve seen yet (bigger than me). So I say ok, and he's like "leave now, I hate you" at that point I’m thinking apa hal?! that is to say "what thing"? Anyway he comes up to us and is like "i hate you people, get out of this kompung now", so we left.

The building houses service fell through, but we ended up going to a members house and cleaning up her yard, (huge mess of vegetation and metal to be sold).

But ya so it was fun. But overall best week so far. It was mostly due to superior planning, and time management. Lesson learned.

I learned something else this week. Apparently times have changed in the Singapore mission. When we were at the MTC our teachers told us that for one year the entire mission had about 1000 baptisms- 80 missionaries. So we all came out expecting investigators to fall into our laps because only about 1 in 14 investigators actually joins. This was 2 years ago. It is not like that anymore though. Basically in Malaysia people don’t move. So once all the areas have been explored and tracted they’ve been explored and tracted. Apparently if I had been in the exact same place i am now we could probably have 10-20 baptisms before we were transferred out (3 months). It kind of got me down. But then, when I was reading Jeremiah I read 16:16. It says: "Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.". The fishers have come and pulled in all they could with their nets. Now, we are the hunters and must hunt them out of the holes in the rocks. So ya that was very inspiring for me. 

Rosemitha: not sure what the best thing I’ve eaten here is, that being said I’ve found something that dethrones durian as the worst. Corn drink. Yes corn drink. I’ve been told that it can actually sometimes be good. This was the bad type I suppose. Imagine this, you’re in a kompung house and in every house you go in they serve you some sort of drink and some sort of crackers or fruit. You just get there after an hour bike ride and sweat is pouring out of you. It’s the middle of the day and is super-hot. You sit in this house that is hotter than the outside and your dying. They bring out these cake things and this pitcher. You start imagining cold orange or rose juice. The next thing you know, the juice is warm and it tastes like I don’t even know what. You have to choke it down because they gave it to you and then drink however much more they pour for you (in this case 3 cups). Worst thing ever. All i could think was the line from the Madagascar movie "smile and wave boys, just smile and wave"

Katherine: that sounds like a lot of fun you had at primary. In Sunday school we learned about the Pearl of Great Price and my companion could not believe where it came from. I won’t be home for quite a while still, but I’ll send you some pictures and a letter soon.

Dad: keep up the work, I love you, it sounds like your making progress and I’m praying for you every day. ya we haven’t given up on Simi yet, we will try to call her again this week.

Love you all

Elder Halpin

Pictures from this week:


A mosque with a sunset and mountain.
Someday I want to come back to
Malaysia and get this picture with a temple.

 2 Pictures of Kompung Kudei.

Piece of junk proton car we found while tracting


Saturday, September 28, 2013

July 14, 2013 – Tough Week… – Week 4 in Kuching

So I totally forgot my SD card reader at the house so if I said I would send a picture of something I’ll actually do it next week.

This week kind of sucked. But this coming week’s outlook is awesome!!!!

So it started out with our bikes being stolen last Monday morning...

I will be buying an Elder’s, who is going home for medical reasons, 6 month old bike. It is similar to mine except that it does not have hydraulic brakes. I’m also getting a good deal on it.

Anyway, Tuesday and Monday were bust because we had no transportation.

I forgot to tell you guys, Simi is a 67 year old single Iban lady, who is a retired nurse from a clinic.

On Friday we had our third and unfortunately probably last lesson with Simi. She was moving along really well, but had a hard time understanding our Malay because she spoke Iban mostly. anyway we got to the end of the restoration and she said that she thought that she had received an answer to her prayers but even though she said she had had an answer she said "Elders, I know that this is true and I know my church is wrong (Anglican) but I’m still going to keep going to my church because it’s what I started going to when I was a kid so there’s no need for you to come back".

Ughh. Worst moment yet ever. We are going to continue to check back with her though, and she said that if she ever changed her mind she would call us.

So ya. Our current bikes are interesting to say the least. We are riding one bike that is like 6 years old that we found in our backyard. It is a women’s bike and is girly pink. The front fork has no shocks and is slightly torqued so that the bike constantly pulls from side to side. The crankshaft is also wasted so that the front pedals and gears wobble as you pedal. The other bike is about four years old and is much better, we trade off every few kliks. 

Tomorrow we are going to help some of the people in Kudei build new houses. Basically they, a lot of them, are squatters, and someone bought the land to build a hotel. So we will help them rip down move and rebuild their current houses. It’s going to be cool I think, they basically use the same method as we use on our huts at the creek, add a floor and stilts.

As for other investigators, we have a lot of possibles, that’s our goal this week, to get in contact with all our possibles. One family is bow-die-you (not sure of the spelling, another tribe like Iban) and speaks Malay, were really hoping for that one. The other 4 families are Chinese and so since they speak Chinese and English we will pass them off to the English speaking Elders if they become real investigators.

Answers to questions and awesome stuff:

Our Branch is pretty cool, we typically have anywhere from 25-50 people every week. It’s an average Malaysian Branch size.

We meet in a church building that is one lot in a converted shop block. I’ll send a photo of a shop block such as i have.

The meetings are pretty good. The four Elders trade off teaching the gospel principles class and sometimes priesthood.

So there are these things called biawaks here. That’s pronounced bee-a-walk/wok. Basically it’s a monitor lizard. We see road kill ones sometimes, and so far I have seen 2 live ones. No picture yet, the things are too smart, the moment I stop my bike and try to get my camera they’re in the jungle. I guess if you go to Sabah, and want to, you can go hunting for them on p-day and then barbeque them afterwords and use their bones to make stuff. Their natural habitat is the jungle but they have adapted well to life in the storm gutter/sewer (you hunt the jungle ones in Sabah).

Cool stuff, more. We were on our way to Siol Kandis the other day and it was after dark, we heard death chanting and wailing coming from the local mosque. Kind of eerie (Elder Berger hated it) but I actually thought it sounded cool (it went on for like 3-4 hours). I don’t remember if I told you guys this already, but they broadcast the call to prayer here from every mosque on loudspeakers, really cool sounding actually.

Something else, the month of Ramadan started on Friday...? Anyway that means that Muslims fast during the day, so they buy all their food early and then eat it after dark and before sunrise. For us that means, awesome lunches and early dinners, but stores close way early 8-9 and open kind of late, 10-11 ish.

Also before the bikes were stolen I was actually getting to the point where I could keep up with my companion on a bike finally. That means pedaling at about as fast as Cotton Eye Joes beat in front gear 3, rear gear 5-7 (9 gear bike) on flat and slight hills. On real hills you just drop the front gear to gear 2 and call it good. I’ve never actually shifted into front gear 1.

I’ll send some letters, also thank you Sister Ward for the encouragement and the advice, it’s much appreciated.

Love you all, 

Elder Halpin



July 7, 2013 – Good Week, Then… – Week 3 in Kuching

So, ya, we woke up this morning and guess what? Our bikes were stolen. Straight up gone. They cut the lock and took them over the 6 foot wall. So other than getting our bikes stolen this morning we had a decent week.

I have been reading Jesus the Christ as well as Isaiah and I have to say they go well together.

One of our potential investigators has become a real investigator, her name is Simi (pro. sea-me). We’ve taught her a couple times.

We have several more contacts that were trying to get appointments with.

On Saturday we went to the other Matang Elder’s baptism at the river in the jungle, it was pretty cool.
One of the other Matang Elders is Elder Trotter. Apparently he was from the old Little Spokane River Ward before he moved to South Dakota about the same time we moved. He is going home at the end of the month. It’s funny we knew all the same people, but never met each other.

For David, last night we ate at a members home who made us laksa. It's this noodle soup stuff really good. It was the Kutching variety, no fish heads, like the west Malaysia version. Lots of shrimp though. We also eat a lot of curry chicken with rice and various other versions of nasi goreng ayam (literally, rice fried chicken). My bed is a rock, it's ok though, it suits my violent way of sleeping.

It was the closing of Hari Gawai this week. It's the closing of a 2 month long Iban holiday thing, they dress up traditionally and dance and chop up the Hari Gawai tree with swords at the end, a tree full of gifts. The way they dance is called the ngajat. You should be able to look it up on YouTube, it’s actually really cool. There are many forms of it, some are solo, some are group, some are even reenactments of combat and such with swords and shields like the picture of the one I sent you.

For Dad: people here advertise their religions on their doors and houses. Malay/Muslim people put giant Christmas lights on their houses. Buddhist/Chinese put Chinese/Buddhist stuff on their houses. Catholics put a crucifix above or on their doors, it usually has Christ on it. they also put these catholic stickers on their doors. Other Christians just put a reed or wooden cross on the door. Hindus put Hindu stuff on their houses.

Basically right now we ride our bikes down a street looking for houses with any form of Christian symbolism on it.

It's a bit depressing since so many in our area are Malay, It's tough not being able to contact 90% of the houses in our area.

I also think that once we can proselyte to Muslims it'll be great for the church. From what I've seen they are very devout to their religion and would be rock solid in the church, same as the Chinese. The Chinese can be very prideful and difficult to work with but once they are in they are usually the strongest of members here.

Sorry for the short email, lot on my mind.

Pictures below.

Elder Halpin

This is the reason we don’t ride on the sidewalks. You’re very likely to kill yourself swerving into the sewer and if you don't do that, you'll likely fall into a pit or break through one of the notoriously weak grates.
Chinese Buddhist Temple.
It really is tiny, like the size of a big temple's gate. 
This is one of many awesome beetles we found at the baptism at the river. They are about the size of hummingbirds and fly like such. They live in holes in the horizontal support beams of the shelter.


Friday, September 27, 2013

July 1, 2013 – Getting Started – Week 2 in Kuching

So, it was an awesome week.

We visited a lot of the members in our area and also went contacting a little. District Conference was this Saturday and Sunday and that combined with the bike situation meant that we didn’t get a whole lot done this week.

That’s ok though, we already have like 6 potential investigators and we will see this week if they become real investigators. We found most of them by going through an ancient list of numbers we found and calling them. We found the rest by actually talking to people.

Our area has SERIOUS problems with inactivity so most of our work this week was going to their houses and inviting them to the District Conference. Some of them came (for the first time in a year or 2 in some cases) so it was worth it.

It looks like Kuching will probably be the first stake in Malaysia, probably in the next couple years. Hope I get to see it.

So our area is pretty cool. 95% of our members and less actives live in 2 different kampungs. There are 2 different meanings for the word "kampung". When someone says they are going back to their kampung it means their home place. That could be downtown Kuala Lumpur or it could be a hut in the jungle 100 miles from anything. The 2nd meaning is basically a geographical area, divided by roads, rivers, economic situation, religion/race, etc. The 2 kampungs our members mainly live in are called kampung Kudei and Siol Kandis. They are both EXTREMELY poor. Like candle light, garbage all over, houses made of wood and sheet metal and cinder blocks. The people who live in them are mostly Ibans (probably what you were taking about mom, Iman is the Malay word for faith) with some other tribes thrown in.  Kudei is by the Sarawak River and is sort of in a swamp about 30 minutes from our house. Thus, all the walkways are elevated 2-6 feet off the ground and are extremely sketchy. I’ll send some pictures next time to illustrate (I don’t have any yet). Our Branch President, President Mobil lives here.

Siol Kandis is on the opposite side of the river about 45 minutes-1 hour away from our house. It is in a very hilly jungle type place. I do have some pictures of this one so I’ll send them to you.

Most of our area besides these places is Malay and Chinese. Malay= no contact. Contacting the Chinese is a pain. Either they completely ignore you, they pretend not to speak Malay or English (maybe they don’t, but almost all Chinese speak one the two), or they are very prideful, they say things like "can’t you see I’m Buddhist?" (if Buddhist) etc. We still contact those areas when we have time though, it’s just not our most efficient use of time so we do most of our work in the kampungs.

Bicycling is a PAIN. I haven’t seriously biked in a LONG time. It’s kind of dangerous here. There are a lot of cars and motos here. So if you want to get anywhere you basically have to act like a car. Most of the time you ride on the side of the road but if you want to cross a street you basically have to ride with the traffic and merge through the lanes across the road. No crosswalks. Can be pretty sketchy at times. It pretty much sucks. Our area is pretty flat, the thing that sucks is the climate.

Basically unless it’s raining or going to rain soon you start sweating in about 30 secs-2 minutes. I have never sweated this hard in my life. It’s like literally my whole body is just covered in water. It’s like I just came out of the shower. It’s like you step out of a pool and have rivulets of water running down your body and face. EVERY minute of EVERY bloody day. Almost every day it rains twice, usually in the early morning before we wake up and in the afternoon/evening. For instance the clouds were rolling in for rain when we went into the internet kedei (shop) it will probably rain on us before too soon. When it rains it usually rains for about 30 minutes to an hour HARD, like walking through water. Sometimes it comes back for a second shot about an hour later, usually much lighter though.

The clouds here are the most beautiful clouds I have ever seen. I’ll take some pictures and send them next p-day.

Elder Berger is from Utah, like 10 minutes from the MTC.

THE HOSE (I’ll try put it delicately, some of it’s impossible though)
I can’t believe I never told you this. In Malaysia/Singapore they don’t use toilet paper. They use a bucket and either a hand or scoop if they are poor, or a hose (sometimes the shower head) if they have money. Nice houses either have toilets or bidet (basically a toilet built into the bottom of your shower that you squat over). You use your LEFT hand to help the water if it’s sticky. When you have to go number 2 you just take off your pants and underwear and put on the communal shower sandals (or personal in the case of the missionary apartments). Believe it or not you become much cleaner using water than with toilet paper.

Personally I go either in the morning or night when I take my shower, much more convenient.

This p-day we went to the wind caves. TONS of bats. Awesome. No pictures, to dark.

Out of time dang it. I will write a letter, it should take a about a week and a half to arrive.

Elder Berger and I  
A sweet cloud formation
Kampung Siol Kandis
The inside of a durian fruit,


Elder Halpin