Monday, October 21, 2013

October 20, 2013 – Working with Less Active Families - Week 18 in Kuching

This week was good. Met with a lot of less active families and members. Mostly same ole same ole except for a few things.

On Friday we had New Missionary Training (NMT).  Basically all the trainers and trainees in east Malaysia came to Kuching  where President and Sister Mains provided training.  Then the APs also provided training. It was good, powered me up.

We also had a really good meeting with Brother Dunggat and Sister Dina. They are the ones Elder Berger and I went with to the Palm Oil Ladang. Basically you have to gain a members trust before they will give you referrals. They also have to like you. So basically, when we meet members and teach them we take it just as seriously as we would if it was an investigator. We also try to keep a good conversation going and have fun with them when we’re not teaching. Anyway, it was pretty interesting explaining how people can still go outside if there is snow, how houses don’t collapse and also about skiing. But yeah, fun day.

Other than that this week was pretty normal.

Bro Jini: We were teaching him to read and it was going well however he had to move back to Kampung. You see that is a huge problem here. A lot of people move here to work and then move back. However his testimony is super strong. The last Sunday before he left he bore his testimony about the gospel and I’m positive that when he comes back he will come to Church again.

But yeah, most of the population of Sarawak lives in the interior. They all live in Kampungs, basically longhouses all of 1-5ish families (extended huge families). They mostly either work in the family rice paddy or on the local palm oil plantation. Somtimes the Kampungs will be close to the road and a village will spring up, like Serian or Sri Aman or a larger Kampung like those.

Bro Jitun: He has been hard to get a hold of but he wants to learn and we are going to start teaching him this week.

We also have a new plan for all the less actives we have been working with. We will start teaching them the lessons like they are investigators. The goal is to basically get them converted to the lord and to truly understand the doctrine of repentance. In a lot of cases people don’t understand why they need to keep taking the sacrament and they were never truly converted. But yeah, it will also give us both (Elder Ferguson and I) a chance to teach the lessons since investigators are hard to find here.

The package. So yeah, more chocolate, more bicycle tire patches, plus whatever I said last week.

Also email me some pictures. The people here love it when you show them pictures of your family, extended family and where you live.  Activities you liked to do, chores and work you did, etc. Basically, pictures that showed my life before my mission. But yeah, email them to me and I can get them printed here for super cheap.

Hey, could you send me some recipes? Namely Delizza.  We have a microwave, double burner propane stove and a toaster oven similar to ours.

Pictures below. 

Love you all, Elder Halpin

Cyrill, our Branch President's son,
 coming with us along with and one of our Zone Leaders

Kampung Kudei

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 13, 2013 – The Work Continues - Week 17 in Kuching

This week was pretty good.

First off Dad. After you have knocked everything you have a couple options. First, all the while you’re knocking you should be asking for referrals from the Less Actives and members you visit. A referral is 100 times better than a missionary contact. Also knocking is not the only way to contact. You can also contact in crowded places such as shopping centers and malls. So yeah, knocking is very dependent on a lot of things such as if the people are home, what their life is like at the time you knock and also the time of day when you knock. But anyway yeah, we will probably start going over areas again slowly.

Louris' family: We went over and met his family and started to get to know them and then started teaching but the father whose name is Julius didn’t want to listen to us and pretty much shut us down by declaring "we are already committed to roman Catholicism". So maybe they will be ready in the future. We did get Julius to commit to reading a little of the Kitab Mormon every evening with his family, so maybe they will be touched and want to continue learning.

Wednesday we went with Bro Alexsius to Kampong Kudei to meet members that we had never met before, it went well and now we have some new people to work with. Alexsius is a great help, he is a returned missionary from Kota Kinabalu, he served in Matang for 8 or 9 months and it was he along with an Elder Jones that baptized a ton of people here. I think about 40 - 50 in a period of like 5 months. Anyway, these people were strong in the church for a while but what happened is that one of the weaker ones went less active or something such and then it was like a domino effect. So anyway, yeah, really sad.

Thursday we had appointments with a bunch of members including Sister Gulang. One of her many dogs had died so we buried it for her....

We also finally figured out Elder Ferguson's problem, he is allergic to curry. It takes a while but if he eats it for dinner he will throw it up sometime that night. Long story.

Friday we rallied the troops for General Conference. We rode to Kampong Kudei and Siol Kandis and gave everyone flyers about General Conference. Some came, it was good. We have it in English too, so we have been watching it in our spare time such as lunch and in the evening.

But yeah, that was our week. I will get back to you again.

Sincerely, Elder Halpin

An abandoned mansion we found while biking

Eating lunch at the Church with everyone
in between General Conference sessions.

Me waiting for General Conference to start.

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 6, 2013 – Surviving the Storm … - Week 16 in Kuching

So this week was interesting. A lot of things happened that killed a lot of our time but, at the same time, the time that did go right went really right. So first off last Monday we played futsal. Basically it’s like indoor soccer on a small concrete court. Today we were going to Bako as a zone activity again but the president tidak suruh it (negative command). So instead we will be playing futsal again, I’ll get some pictures this time. I would really like to go to Bako again or the caves we went to on my 2nd P-day again, maybe next week.

So, Elder Ferguson. No I guess I haven’t talked much about him. So first off, seeing him at the place he’s at shows me how far I’ve come in the language and it’s really kind of amazing. People are kind of shocked when I tell them I’ve only been in Malaysia 4 months. It’s actually a really good way to contact people. By the way, the training is going well I guess, I don’t have a whole lot of experience but I try to share what I do know. He makes a whole bunch of language bloopers but I guess I probably did too. He also has a lot of greenie power (greenies imagine themselves (for the most part) as invincible and thus they are extremely hopeful and confident), it’s kind of nice cause I was just starting to lose mine. He’s not a huge fan of the food here but he does all right. He’s also finally getting to the point he can keep up on his bike. But ya we get along way good and have a lot fun doing the work.

This week on Wednesday we actually were told the whereabouts of the badminton place and we had an informal activity there with a bunch of members. Pretty fun. Thursday turned out to be a bust. We planned to go tracting all day but as we left the house I noticed it was a little windy. As we rode south I noticed that the entire sky to the south was black. And as we came out from the houses to where I could actually see, there was a column of blackness reaching into the heavens. I wish I had gotten a picture of it. Basically it looked like the black gate of mordor but in the sky above the layer of normal rainclouds. Every few seconds it would glow purple and emit streaks of lighting. And it was coming right for us. By the time I realized how serious this storm was it had sent out two arms of clouds and had surrounded us except in one direction. We began riding that way as fast as we could and I soon realized we could get back to the house if we went the back way. Then it hit. At first it was your basic rainstorm, turn up the voltage and wind 100%. On the way home a bolt hit about 30 feet to the left of Elder Ferguson, I literally felt the shockwave from the thunder. Bolts continued to strike near to us the entire way home. It was seriously nonstop thunder the entire way and bolts were regularly hitting houses, trees and power poles pretty close to us. We continued along in high spirits with the wind to our back the entire way. Just as we were getting back to Matang Jaya (the neighborhood where our house is) the real storm hit. Immediately it was like swimming through the air. Elder Fergusons front mud fender was ripped off his bike and flew past his face and he almost got blown into the drainage ditch. basically the entire road was a river and our bikes were throwing up so much water if you stopped peddling and put your foot down it was like water skiing. By the time we got to our house the 2 foot wide by 4 foot deep runoff gutters on both sides of the road were overflowed and the entire road was filled with water, luckily it didn’t get any higher though. But anyway that continued for the rest of the day and also the night.

Friday was a way good day. We went tracting and pretty much eliminated the last area I had not explored. It basically was an all Islamic kampong. However when we went to badminton on Wednesday I noticed an area of Bondour that we had not knocked before so after we explored we went there. There were about 7 streets each with like 20 homes. Most were Orang Cina (chinese) but 2-3 on every street were Christian. We went through all the houses with no luck until the last street. The first house an 18 year old Iban Roman Catholic guy named Louris came out and talked to us. He said he was pretty busy but we got him to accept a return appointment today at 7, wish us luck. Two houses later we met a man named Herman who lived with his parents and grandparents. He was RC and Bidayu and had grown up speaking English and was attending a university. At the end of the month he is going to Singapore to continue his schooling. But anyway he started a job today that is from 10-10 every day, pretty normal here. But anyway, he said that although he wouldn't have time after Monday he ended up coming to church yesterday, he had lots of questions about the priesthood and the Book of Mormon, it was pretty cool! Although he has no more time now, once he goes to Singapore he will have a lot more and we plan on passing him to the Singapore Elders.

So ya. We continue to work with the less actives in both Siol Kandis and Kampong Kudei. This week we had some really good lessons with some of them. Brother Tuhah also continues to come to church and is way cool. we haven’t been able to visit him because either we can’t get a hold of him or we can’t find his house or I can’t understand what he’s saying over the phone, but anyway ya.

Conference.  We will get it in both English and Malay this week so as we’ve been visiting less actives we've been inviting them.

Also I think I already said this but in Malaysia nobody listens to the anti-piracy laws and the government doesn’t care. Thus as you walk around you’ll find lots of movie and music kedais with these cheap Chinese made plastic sleeve movies and music CDs. Most of the time movies are available here before they come out in the theatres in the United States. And they always have one or two TVs playing the latest movies or news. As we walked by, one time, it had a news headline about the government, shutdown or something? It was in Malay and using big words so I couldn’t completely understand. Anyway... About 3 days later this guy called to us from the side of the road and said that he had been a friend of an Elder Matheson, an Elder that served in Matang in 2010-11. He asked us what was wrong with our government and also if we had reported to the embassy yet.... We explained that it probably wasn’t that big of a deal. So anyway what’s the rundown on that.

Pictures below.


Elder Halpin

Oh the buah!!!
it’s pretty much all over the place,
sometimes though you have to look for it,
 other times you can’t avoid it (Sister Gulang).
Anyway a new favorite of mine is langsa,
it’s basically a grape inside a soft shell thing.
 It’s pretty good and way cheaper than grapes
(4 ringgit per kilo vs 15 ringgit per kilo).
Also the shell makes it so that you can haul
 it around all day without it getting smashed.

For some reason people here like putting
Egyptian statues everywhere.
This is one of like 4-5 I know about.




Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September 29, 2013 – To Plan or Not to Plan … - Week 15 in Kuching

So first off to answer everyone’s questions, and also to ask a few of my own.

First off when did Adam get the first 8 stings?

We were not able to visit Bro. Tuhah again this week, we could not get a hold of him. We’ll try again this coming week.

There is actually a baptismal font in the top floor of our building. I’ve never seen it and also don’t know if it works. Most baptisms are done in the KDC (Kuching District Center, the nicest building in Malaysia).

Do people get sick living in swamps here? No, not really. Maybe white people would but that is where Ibans and many other races traditionally lived. KG. Samariang and also KG. Kudei are both in swamps/over water. Additionally the Malaysian government does a decent enough job fighting malaria that it’s not really a threat here. The only disease that is a problem is dengue fever (mosquito spread virus that’s pretty nasty, I have heard of 2 or 3 missionaries that have gotten it).

Nice work Micaela! Also.... I forgot to tell you to take 1st aid from Snyder.....(slinks off in shame for forgetting such an important thing to tell you).... Saya mintah maaf. (I ask for forgiveness)

Adam, good work chain sawing. Also, nice security baton.

Secondly, Father, google translate is a cannot. It uses Indonesian words a lot and also butchers the grammar and meaning. However, I was able to decipher some of the meaning and then reverse google translate it to get the gist.

It sounds like you are progressing with your knees. Although you can’t quite straighten them yet it sounds like they are much better than they were before. Keep working at it I know you’ll be able to eventually.

Also I did pick up the package when I went to Singapore. The Gatorade and chocolate is great as is the assurance that I will not have to buy the crappy melt in your armpit deodorant they sell here when mine runs out.

If I understood it correctly you want to know if I want another package, betulkah? (correct?)

Well yes of course, naturally I would love a package. I will start thinking about what I need/want and send you a list next Monday. The next time I go into Singapore will most likely be towards the end of November/beginning of December.

Now for a rundown of the week.

The Tuesday turned out to be a waste...

The last three days were very productive.

Wednesday taught me a very valuable lesson.

Aunt Heather you asked for language bloopers, here it is:

First off on Friday we determined to go tracting and then visit Sister Gulong. I’ll tell you about the tracting later. Our visit with Sister Gulong went well, she gave us dinner too. When it was about time to go I had a piece of garbage I wanted to throw away so I asked if she had a place to throw it away. She responded sort of puzzled like. I asked again and she went outside and a came back with 2 large papayas. I’m sitting here thinking, "well these are nice but I just want to throw away my garbage"... I asked again and she goes over to this humongous bunch of bananas sitting in the middle of the living room and cuts us off 2 or 3 bunches... Once again I’m like "hey, do you have a place where I could throw this away?" and then I realized my mistake...

Buah means "fruit". Buang means "to throw". I had mixed them up and had been asking for fruit the whole time.....

That’s ok though. Next time.

The rest of the week was a mixed bag. I did learn 2 important lessons that will guide the rest of my time in Matang and also Malaysia.

Wednesday there was a Branch activity-that was planned on Sunday, bad idea all around. They gave us missionaries the job of telling people.... We did but there’s only so much you can do with 2 days. Secondly, we had no idea where the place we were going was. We arranged for a ride in the morning with a member and since our day was half taken anyway we decided to do weekly planning on Wednesday instead of Thursday thus making better use of our time. Basically our ride fell through after being juggled around the few members with cars and since we had no idea where it was we couldn’t get there... Day gone...

First lesson learned. Proper planning does not exist in Malaysia.

The first part of the day was good however. We called a whole ton of less actives and setup to go to KG. Kudei on Thursday and Siol Kandis on Saturday. Thursday went well. Friday was ok, the tracting was fruitless... Saturday was almost a disaster. The first member we went to see was Sister Munah... The best member ever. I think I explained before that she’s basically an ancient Indonesian lady. She being the only active member in the Siol Kandis and comes with us to all the less active houses. She likes to sing so we sang some hymns before we left her house to walk around. She has a very strong testimony about Christ and in the middle of how great thou art she broke down crying. The spirit was quite strong. anyway we tersed to the first less actives house that visit went well, however the people didn’t remember that we had called them on Wednesday. The second visit was terrible. Basically the family is less active and the father has returned to his old habits of drinking and smoking. When we got to the house he had 4 or so friends over and they were all drinking arak (Iban homemade alcohol). At first they were going to have us go upstairs and visit with the kids but then he instead had us stay downstairs. We sat there for a second while the father was apologizing for everything... Then Sister Munah stands up and tells them that unless they repent and come to church they will in her own words "kamu AKAN pergi kenereka! Which translates to "you WILL (will as in a prophecy) go to hell!". That put everyone in a tizzy... But it ended up all right, we made it out alive and gave a bunch of pamphlets to his drunk friends.

Second lesson learned. Proper planning does not exist in Malaysia. 

From now on I shall do like most and call everyone the morning of only. No more weekly planning. It’s utterly and completely useless in this country.

Anyway, sincerely,

Elder Halpin