Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 16, 2014 – When it Rains, It Pours… - Week 21 in Sibu Jaya

So this week was so going so good, I should have known it was too good to last...

Katherine: How are you doing?  I really miss you what did you have for breakfast today?  I had rice krispies.

Elder Halpin: Katherine, this morning for breakfast I had Sarawak Laksa with Milo ice and a BBQ Pork Pow. Very delicious. Rice Krispies sound very nice, cold cereal here is more expensive than in the US and is not very good.... The milk is also overpriced and pretty gross.

Dad: So, when you want to say something in Malay, you think of it in English and then translate it…  What about when you hear something in Malay, do you translate it to English before you respond?

Elder Halpin: First off I will clarify some things.  I only think of stuff in English first when it’s very complicated or when I need to use big words. Usually when speaking or being spoken to and such I just think in Malay. For myself and most missionaries I have talked to have said that the language comes in jumps. Really slow, not getting any better followed by a large jump in skill level. One of the biggest is when you stop thinking in English before you speak.

Concerning Hobbits (no actually seran wrap). In the beginning of 2013 Brother Phillip got very sick. He was in a coma for a week or so. In that coma he said he had a vision in which an angel came to him and told him that he needed to bring his family closer to God. In about June/August of 2013 year Sister Kat introduced the Elders to Brother Phillip and Sister Serawa's family. Brother Phillip realized that this was the path that they should take. So Brother Phillips family was baptized at the end of last year/beginning of this year. He however, was working in Kapit so couldn’t really learn. About a week or two after I was transferred here he stopped working in Kapit and moved back to here. Elder Chan and I taught him the lessons and he was ready to go but had to wait because he had a something such that couldn’t get wet and was pretty delicate at the time. So had to wait. Anyway 2 weeks ago we were at their house and he said he thought his side was healed enough that he could try it. So we gave them serarn wrap and duct tape and we baptized him. It was way cool.

We started off the week by visiting Kenneth’s family. He had cut down to one cigarette per day and seemed ready to stop. He was way psyched and was going to do it.

We also helped Sister Kat make banana chips. Sliced green bananas for like 2 hours.....

Pira was excited to be baptized.

Jennifer and Daren passed their baptismal interviews and were way excited. We were working on getting Amerol, Darens older brother to baptize him.

On Wednesday we met with President Clement and got the MLS database up to date and sorted out the branch directory. Many if not all branches in East Malaysia suffer from a lack of good clerks. Tithing usually gets done (not always, sometimes the Elders have to help) but the membership side of things is usually neglected. So anyway, he was way happy to get it under control.

also on wednesday we met with Sis Lulongs daughter and Sis Taluts grandaughter. they are both somewhat intrested. should meet them again this week.

Then it all hit the fan...

Thursday we met with President Clement to help do an audit or something such. Anyway, our MLS wasn’t the right version or something and the automatic updater wasn’t working. This audit thing was supposed to be done by the end of June by the way. Anyway we thought it would be a good idea to uninstall MLS and reinstall it. Not the best move. You see, uninstalling it also deleted the installer exe..... Apparently there is only one man in Malaysia who can reinstall MLS and he lives in West Malaysia... Why did I get dragged into clerk work???? It’s just headaches.

Then Sister Enchin (Daren’s mother) decided to go to Kampung until January.....

Then Sister Mengan (Jennifer’s mother) got sick/lazy because it was raining.....

Then Sister Pira decided to go to Miri for school break, (end of this week until January) and wanted the Elders who found her to baptize her (they both so happen to be in Miri), (no hard feelings on this one for sure).

So anyway, we filled the baptismal font for nothing....

We can’t get a hold of Kenneth, we think he and his family are in Bintulu or something such, so no clue on how he’s doing.

Some punk took a hammer or something to Elder Blackwelder’s bike and in the process of trying to steal the front gear bent it. Now the poor guy gets about 300 feet and his chain comes off. He has to get off put it back on and go again....

So yeah.

It’s alright though. Next week will be better.

Looking forward to the package.


Elder Halpin

The biggest ants I have ever seen in my life. 
They are an inch and a half long, no joke.

Sis mengans younger daughter. pretty cute.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 9, 2014 – Strengthening the Branch - Week 20 in Sibu Jaya

Yeah, we didn’t quite make 40 lessons... this week was long and tough.

Every single day we had things to do and they just killed time.

Sorry to hear you guys got sick. On Tuesday Elder Blackwelder was sick also. We didn’t leave the house, he just slept and moaned all day...

Friday we went to see Veronica and we were informed by Roy’s family that they had divorced and that Roy was taking her to the bus station so he could go back to Bintulu as we spoke. So yeah, end of that. Very sad.

Saturday was boss. Baby, Phillip and Jamil were baptized. Sigai baptized Baby. Way cool! He had a hard time saying "dengan wewenang," and had to redo a couple times, but managed to get it. Phillip wrapped himself in seran wrap and duct tape, we then realized that the church didn’t have big enough clothes for him... Luckily we have Elder Mills, we had him bring an extra shirt. For pants though we just had him wear the pants even though they couldn’t be buttoned up, and we had him not tuck the shirt in.

I have realized that I’m very fortunate to be a laid back person. If not, the stress and worrying would probably have killed me by now.

We are working with the leadership currently, trying to get the branch on its feet. It’s going well. Sibu Jaya is kind of going through a rough time right now. About 2 years ago it was very strong. One year from now it will be very strong. Right now though, it’s kind of in between and it’s struggling a bit.

I’m to the point with my Malay that I can do all the blessings and such without having to look at a cheat card. I can just think of it in English and translate it. The baptismal one is this: (name of person) dengan wewenang daripada Yesus Kristus, aku membaptiskan kamu dalam nama bapa dan putera dan roh kudus, amin.

So yeah, not a lot of other stuff to report this week, looking forward to the package.

Next week should be good. Jennifer, Daren and Pira should be baptized.


Elder Halpin

I finally found it, the fabled bags of MSG that they sell here. Yes, that there is pure, unadulterated MSG, death in a bag. They also sell it in the 2 Kilo size.

From left to right: Elder Blackwelder, Jamil, Baby, Sigai, Phillip and myself.

Brother Clement and Sister Cindy’s family.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 2, 2014 – SICK WEEK, No Medication Needed! - Week 19 in Sibu Jaya


Waiting for transfers now. I don’t want to transfer, I would be happy to just finish my mission here. However, I will go where the Lord wants me to go.

So, basically this week, we were talking to Bro Phillip and he said that he thought his medical issue was resolved enough to try the plastic waterproofing method that we had suggested before. We will wrap him in seran wrap and duct tape and baptize him this Saturday!

Also, Baby will be baptized this Saturday!

Also, Jamel will be baptized this weekend! Romy, his wife, isn’t ready yet, give her another month.

Jennifer opted to be baptized at the same time as Daren, so they will both be baptized on November 15th.

Sister Pira, another investigator, also held back by a medical issue, should be good to be baptized on November 15th also!!!

We finally got Sangin and Gani, Sister Timas's and Eugenia’s husbands respectively, to agree to a baptismal of date November 22nd. I feel confident now that with the support of their father and also Eugenia's husband, all four of them, Sangin, Gani, Eugenia and Kenneth will be able to quit smoking and be baptized!

Yes, that’s right, 3 baptized this week, 3 next week and 4 the week after!

Veronica. She just has no support from Roy.  We will have to try again later.

This week, we had 33 lessons all together!!! New personal record! 18 Member present investigator lessons, 8 Member present recent convert/less active lessons and 7 without members.

Basically just high on life! If transfers don't change anything, we will go for 40 lessons this week.

Not only all this, we also were able to finally get Christy confirmed. Things happened right after she was baptized, and she basically felt like the leadership in the branch didn’t care about her. We thought she was done, but, she called us the other night, she was ready to come back and came to church on Sunday!

We had 9 investigators at church and 89 people total.

Dang it! Waiting for transfers sucks...

As for the package, the shirts and pictures sound great! Just send the rest as money for souvenirs.

Transfers finally came in - so, nothing changed.... Hurray!! Elder Blackwelder and I are still in Sibu Jaya by ourselves.


Elder Halpin

We went gathering Sayur (edible vegetation) with Sister Kat. We picked Komiden (a type of edible fern) and Keladi leaf and root (Taro, the purple stuff from Hawaii, you can also eat the leaf and stem). the bag on my back was actually a gift from Sister Selehas family, they made it for me. Bags and baskets woven from plastic are very common. They claim the bag will last like 15 years.

This is a Puak, a traditional Iban Kain (cloth). Elder Kavapalu wearing the one I bought in Kapit.  They are very difficult and slow to make well, they can take up to 6 months to make depending on how big and elaborate they are.

October 26, 2014 – The Lords Work is Great! - Week 17 in Sibu Jaya

Dad: Amanda & Marcos got married yesterday in the Spokane Temple.  It was very nice and we spent the day helping out with the reception and such.  They are driving back to Provo today so she can be back to school tomorrow…

Elder Halpin: Wait what? Yeah, I didn’t know Amanda was even engaged... Congratulations!

This week was pretty good.

We had 103 people at church, the most since February! We also had 11 investigators come to church!

Baby is doing very good. She will pray in front of us now and does every morning and night. She will get baptized next week. Sigai is a boss new member. He’s been following us to appointments now, way cool.

Jennifer is good also, she will get baptized this weekend.

We found another new investigator this week, his name is Daren. He is the son of a less active member, Sister Inchin, who has started coming back to church. He is 10. We put him on date for the 15th.

Veronica isn’t gonna make it this weekend. So basically she is getting no support from her husband Roy. Just generally being a jerk. He goes to work in Bintulu for a couple weeks then comes back and plays futsol for a few days then leaves again, hardly even sees her. Doesn’t even give her money to pay for a private to church... So, no church, probably postponed until we can knock some sense into his head.

Dad, I was talking about the word of wisdom, some Elders have even contacted people using the word of wisdom pamphlets.

Romy and Jamel are doing good! They are working on overcoming smoking right now.

Eugenia and Kenneth are doing good. Hopefully they can stop by this Saturday.

Dad: First off – I called the Missionary Mall to get you some new shirts…  I told them what happened, and, when they returned to the phone, after rolling on the floor laughing, they said the replacement shirts were free…  They said it was more important that you look good than worry why your shirts had problems.  So, I ordered 5 shirts for you…  We got the shirts and they are “FITTED” shirts, do you want “FITTED” shirts?   I can call them on Monday and get these swapped out with regular shirts if needed…  They also told me about a call they got where the Elder bleached his suit…

Elder Halpin: The shirts! So maybe fitted shirts wouldn’t fit me very well.... Better to just get the normal ones, remember I needed them tall. Poor guy, bleached his suit....

On Tuesday we followed a bunch of people out to Sister Selehas kebun to help Brother Beregong, (currently not interested in the church, will have to get him later). Sister Lulong’s husband. He was clearing land to make way for a fruit trees. Our job was to use machetes to cut down the underbrush, small trees and vines so that he could get to the big trees with the chainsaw. Pretty intense. The jungle, I have decided is made up of 4 types of plants. Edible plants, trees, plants that try to kill you with thorns and plants that try to kill you by tripping you into the plants with thorns. So yeah, got pretty beat up.

Anyway, how is the kitchen going now that it’s cold?

Anyway, love you guys!


Elder Halpin

In the jungle, Brother Beregong sitting in the back, 
Sister Lulong standing, 
Sister Kat next to me.

Sister Inchin and Daren

Me and Elder Blackwelder.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 19, 2014 – Baptisms Continue - Week 16 in Sibu Jaya

This week was boss!

So first off Syazliana and Lulong got baptized, Elder Blackwelder baptized them and I confirmed them the next day. Way cool.

Also, we found a new investigator this week. Her name is Jennifer, she is 9 and is the daughter of Sister Menggan, a less active member who recently decided to become active. She is doing way good, started to pray and came to church. She is on date for the 1st of November.

Bibi is doing way good. She came to church for the first time ever on Sunday!!!! She has started to pray in private now! She is still too shy to pray in front of us though. Way cool to see her keep opening up. She is on date to be baptized the 8th of November.

As for Agama Lama (Iban traditional beliefs) it’s not super unified but I will do my best to explain what I know. Basically, it’s all spirit worship and black magic stuff. Sacrifices and rituals to appease good spirts and keep away bad spirits. For example, they put a piece of black cloth over or on their door to keep out spirits. They give their children black bracelets and anklets to wear. On gawai they sacrifice a pig and one or more chickens, and use the blood for various things. The "priest" if you would, is called a Bomo, there is usually at least one in each Kampung. I’ve witnessed, on several occasions, them do various rituals and such. Anyway, lots of members still meddle with it. As for myself, I 100% believe that black magic is real, at least in some instances, I’ve seen and heard too much to not believe it.

Anyway, after that tangent, Kenneth and Eugenia are doing good. They got it down to 2 cigarettes a day. They are in Miri now, we will meet with them again when they come back. It’s kind of interesting here, the word of wisdom that is. In America it’s a big deal but not that big a deal here. It either makes or breaks people.

Our other investigators are doing well.

Other cool stuff that happened this week. The people from Samarahan came back for break. Stalone and Sheeda are here for 6 weeks. Already they have helped us teach their families and other people. It has been raining reliably every day this week at 3 in the afternoon, 9 at night and 8 in the morning. literally everyday at those same times.... Really bizarre.

Sibu Jaya is boss!

Sounds like you guys are having fun. Adam, that’s a pretty mean Rubik’s cube time!

In Sarawak here they started proselyting in like 2005 or so and then called the first Malay elders in like 2007.

As for the package, anything is good. I could use 1 or 2 new shirts, all of mine never really recovered from the 4 months of washing with fabric softener... Anyway I was lugging around too much stuff, so I put the worst half of my wardrobe in Singapore.

Dad.... I can take the picture now, but the problem is that Elder Blackwelder’s shirts are on a drying rack at home, my T-shirts are on the same rack. So he’s wearing normal clothes, I’m wearing proselyting clothes... so I will wait until next week.

Love you guys!


Elder Halpin

Lulong and Syazliana. 
Plus a bunch of other people.

A wild Boer jaw bone someone was using to hold machetes.

Sister Bajik and family. 
Except for Sheeda (red shirt) 
They are less active, nobody but sis Kat really remembers them
They are way fun though, 
and they said they'd come to church this week so, will see.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 16, 2014 - Crazy Busy! The Work is Great! - Week 15 in Sibu Jaya

So, basically the internet died halfway through emailing on Monday so we just saved our emails to send next week. Sibu Jaya is janky.

Anyway, we are currently making the baptismal program for tomorrow and we decided to just go ahead and update and send our emails.

This week was good. Our investigators are doing good.

This weekend was General Conference here, it was pretty good. I really liked that the non-English speakers, I thought that was pretty cool. We had high attendance the whole time, our max was 68. To put it in perspective, both of the Malay branches and the Chinese branch in Sibu town had a combined attendance of 72, Sibu Jaya is a beast

Lulong, Edah and Talut are doing good. Edah and Talut were baptized on Friday. Lulong would have been but some issues came up in the interview. Anyway those have been worked out and she will be baptized tomorrow.

Bibi is doing alright. She is still into Iban ritual stuff though, and doesn’t have a huge desire. We are working on that.

Gilbert is alright too. His Mom isn’t letting him come to church, but he has been reading and praying.

We met with a former investigator this week. Her name is Viani, she learned in 2011. Anyway Sister Kat suggested that we go try again, because her uncle passed away a while back and Sis Kat thought maybe her heart would be more open. Our visit went well, we will see her again this week. Trying to see her tomorrow or Sunday.

Also, now that I know the other half of Sibu Jaya better I’ll introduce some of the people that we have been working with over there.

Veronica is the wife of Roy, a member. Anyway, Roy is 18, she is 15 (both legal and socially acceptable), he went to Bintulu shortly after I arrived for about 3 weeks for work and came back married. So the other Elders have been working with them since then. Anyway, this week we put her on date for the 1st of November, should be good.

Syinzliana is the daughter of Catherine, the one who was baptized the same time as Sigai. She is 11 and will be baptized this weekend also.

Jamel is Punan about 32, he is married to Romy who is Kayan about 26.

Punan and Kayan are both tribes in upriver Sarawak. It’s kind of interesting, since there is also Penan and Kenan which are the basically the non-agricultural Punan’s and Kayan’s. Basically at some point in the past 400ish years they were just the Penan’s and Kenan’s and they were all hunter, gatherer nomads. They would make a camp, live there for a month or so and then move on. They gradually split however, the Punan’s and Kayan’s becoming more agricultural, relying more on the rivers and living in longhouses like the Ibans, slowly their languages drifted apart and now you have 4 tribes/races where you used to have 2.

So anyway, Jamal & Romy, they follow agama lama, or basically the traditional beliefs. He is doing a lot better then she is, he just finished the reading the Book of Mormon and the night he finished the last chapter he had a dream, he didn’t say what it was but he said that it was sign that he should be baptized, so he’s on date for the 8th of November.

Eugenia and Kenneth and Pira. Eugenia and Kenneth are the children of a recent convert named Timas, who was baptized a little while before I arrived. They are 16 and 14 respectively, Eugenia is married. Both her and Timas's husbands work in Bintulu.  Anyway, they were not baptized because they couldn’t quit smoking. They are now recommitted and hopefully will be baptized on the 15th of November, meaning they will need to stop by the 1st. Going way good, they are down to 2 everyday, they started at 6. It’s really kind of sad Eugenia was 12 and Kenneth 10 when they started. Anyway, they are becoming spiritual bosses now, it’s cool to see. Sister Pira was ready to go but issues came up in the interview. anyway, she and the Elders kind of lost hope, but we managed to reinvigorate her and now the issues are finally resolved, she said she will come back to church and she hopefully will be baptized in the next couple weeks, the 25th of October or the 1st of November.

Sibu Jaya is the sickest, we are so busy.

Love you guys, Dad the flyer is cool, I can’t wait to go skiing again!!!!


Elder Halpin

Hope you remember this guy, 
Ramond Beliang from Samarahan, 
he’s now serving in Sibu!

Edah and Taluts baptism. 
That’s Rolyn, a boss member, he’s 16, 
he and Sister Kat helped translate while teaching and 
he Baptized Edah.

That’s me with Tima’s and Pira’s families. 
Kenneth in blue in the foreground, 
Pira in the red shirt and 
Eugenia in the orange shirt.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 5, 2014 – Brother Sigai’s Wife, Bibi, is Now Being Taught! - Week 14 in Sibu Jaya

So this week was a little rough.

Elder Blackwelder has had an ingrown toenail for about 2 months and it was getting worse not better. So on Tuesday morning we went to the doctor. The doctor promptly lopped off about 1/4 of his toe and nail (funniest broken English conversation ever: President Clement: "He took your meat!?" Elder Blackwelder: "yes President, he took my meat"...), wrapped it up and sent us away. Anyway we were stuck in the house until Friday. I hate being stuck in the house!!!!!!...... It’s the worst thing since stolen bicycles and broken wrists. Still managed to do some good work this week though!

Anyway, the good things that have happened this week!

So Bibi, Sigai's wife is learning now! Also, Sigai passed the sacrament.

Also, Ida, Lulong and Talot are getting baptized this week or next hopefully depending on how things go.

Sister Ramani, who we have been working with since I came to Sibu Jaya, came to church for the first time since last November, then bore her testimony!

So yeah things are good here! Glad to hear Grandpa is doing ok. I'm working hard on my Iban study now, I want to be somewhat proficient before the end of the transfer.

Love you all!

Sorry no pictures this week. Didn’t do anything so I don’t have any...


Elder Halpin

September 28, 2014 – Going for the record! - Week 13 in Sibu Jaya

Well, not really sure where to start!

I’m an uncle! Woot, woot! So cool! Congratulations! 

Good to hear Uncle Ben wasn't hurt and Grandpa’s doing alright.

How’s the fight against the mice and fleas going?

This week was a bit hectic.....

So, first off, transfers were moved to Wednesday and we didn’t know that until Tuesday evening.... Just scurried around trying to visit people.... 

Wednesday morning Elder Kavapalu and Elder Strathearn left. However, things happened and only Elder Zimmerman (Elder Blackwelders new companion) ended up coming. Anyway we were a “tripanionship” all of last week. This morning Elder Zimmerman left so I am now companions with Elder Blackwelder and we have all of Sibu Jaya to ourselves. It has been a bit crazy around here....

The longhouse people came to church on Sunday. Brother Sigai was also given the Aaronic priesthood. Way cool! 

Having all of Sibu Jaya is going to be crazy. Right now we have 15 people on date. 3 will be baptized on the 11th of October and 4 on the 18th of October if everything goes according to plan. We will be going on lots of splits, we already have splits planned 2-3 evenings this week just to see everyone. We have lots of good potentials, in both halves of Sibu Jaya. Last year, in September, they split Sibu Jaya. Previous to that it was just 2 Elders. In the beginning of August 2013 Sibu Jaya had 35 people on date (mission record for 2013). I truly believe that if we work hard, have faith and be bold we can achieve that this transfer. I’m really just kind of hyped right now!

Elder Halpin

What passes in Malaysia for a child car seat. 
It's actually supposed to go over the back of a bench seat 
but this works too.

Helping Sister Kat in her garden. 
We burned and cleared the underbrush 
and then planted ubi kayu.

Elder Zimmerman.

September 21, 2014 – Go Boldly… - Week 12 in Sibu Jaya

So, waiting for transfers. My first transfer in Sibu Jaya was probably the slowest of my mission, this has been the fastest, not sure where time has gone.... Time is truly weird on a mission, it doesn't flow correctly.

Praying for Grandpa, he’s a hell of a lot tougher then I am, I have faith he will be fine. Is Uncle Ben alright?

The baptisms went way good. Sigai asked me to baptize him, way cool, I was pretty nervous, did it in one try though.

Other than that zone conference was good, one of the best I have attended. Talked a lot about faith. Also about boldness. Took away from it that I need to be more bold and also have more faith. I have been really working on the faith aspect and that’s going well. As for boldness, one of the things they want us to do is change the way we introduce ourselves. Typically we will walk up to somebody and talk to them for a bit and then introduce ourselves like this "we are volunteers from the church"....etc, something such. Anyway basically President Mains wants us to do it more like this: walk up, talk for a bit or whatever and then introduce ourselves like this " My name is, blank, this is my friend "blank" we are disciples of Jesus Christ, we have been sent here by Jesus Christ to tell people how they can be saved and experience happiness in their families"....etc, something such. It seemed pretty powerful in zone conference, hopefully it works well in the real world. I will let you know how it goes.

The sisters are doing well. Really working on getting them to understand the importance of the spirit.

Gilbert is good, he wasn’t able to come to church though.

Before zone conference we did some interesting things. The coolest was we accidentally (long story) made it to the top of the marina bay sands, that building with the ship on top. Way sick, pretty tall, tall enough to make your ears pop.....

Dad, I got your letter, this week i will be sending a bunch of letters back.

I hope i dont transfer, i feel like this areas going to explode next transfer... the sisters are still on date for the 11th of october. Elder Kavapalu is great, I love the members here and the area in general.

Still waiting......

Staying in Sibu Jaya!
Elder Kavapalu is leaving though, he’s going to Klang in West Malaysia...... My new companion will be Elder Thatcher from my MTC group, should be fun. Elder Strathearn is leaving too, he is being replaced by Elder Zimmerman (just a random name to you I guess).

With love and prayers

Elder Halpin


the other missionaries are Elders Blackwelder and Strathearn their recent converts are Christy on the left and Catherine in the center.

Elder Kavapalu, Sister Bibi, Brother Sigai (their child) and Me.
At Brother Sigai's baptism.

Brother Sigai and Me

Back row: Me, Elder Blackwelder and Strathearn
Front row: Sister Christy, Sister Catherine & Brother Sigai.

Monday, October 6, 2014

September 15, 2014 – Jetliner in the Water… - Week 11 in Sibu Jaya

So, this week was pretty good.

Sigai came back from Kapit early, on Thursday. As a result he wants to go with his original date of the 20th, so his baptism this Saturday! Tomorrow, before we go to Singapore on Wednesday, one of the zone leaders will come to Sibu Jaya to interview him. The other Elders are also baptizing 2 people on Saturday, so I’ll be interviewing them. Way excited!!!!! It’s been really cool teaching him. Easily the most prepared person for the gospel I’ve ever met, far and away.

The sisters are doing well, they have been coming to church and praying. They haven’t had any problems with the Word of Wisdom. Had a really good discussion with them last night about the priesthood and the restoration.

Gilbert is doing really well. He came to church again on Sunday, afterwards we were able to meet with him. Very solid. We are just going to review all the lessons with him. He will be baptized on the 27th of December, when his mother allows him to.

All of our less actives are doing good. One particular family that we have been working with is Brother Donny and Sister Nayan. Long story short her calling of primary president caused her to go less active but now has caused her to become active again. Really cool to see her come back.

Today was way cool. We went to Kapit. Basically it’s the hub of the Sarawakian jungle. This morning, at 6 am, the entire zone got on "Express" boats - think jet liner with no wings on the water- that’s an express boat. After a 3 hour boat ride up the Batang Rajang or Rajang river we arrived at Kapit town. We met Brother Rachnam, one of 7 endowed members in Kapit. A bunch of them meet as a group. He showed us around the Kapit town area, got to see some cool stuff, monkey meat for sale and such, there were so many people, basically Kapit is the hub for upriver sarawak and there were heaps and heaps of people about. Anyway we rented a couple vans and went to his long house 15 minutes away in the mountains. Kapit is definitely the coolest and most beautiful place I’ve been so far in Malayisa. It’s in the mountains on the river, the jungle is all around, big jungle not scrubby jungle. The road to his longhouse reminded me of the road to Jacmel in Haiti, or maybe Hawaii a bit. Longhouses were everywhere, the running joke was "oh look, there’s a longhouse", "oh look, there’s a longer one". Anyway we met his family and had a devotional, then hustled back to the boat. We almost missed the morning boat, the Elders who were already there stalled it for us but even then it was already starting to move as we jumped onto it.

Wednesday is zone conference, we will be there until Friday evening.

The big changes weren’t actually that big. Rumor mill. Basically there are Elders that are teaching 1 hour plus lessons, that’s teaching time only, not including crackers and milo and asking them about their week,  just the actual lesson.... Just being dumb. The whole don’t teach for more than 35 minutes unless directed by the spirit was the biggest thing.

Anyway, gotta go, sorry it’s short. Gotta be home in 10 minutes....


Elder Halpin


Gilbert and I.

Express boats with cargo boats in the background.

Dressed up as an Iban warrior.

One of innumerable longhouses on the river to Kapit. 
This one is pretty long.

September 7, 2014 – With Faith there are Miracles… - Week 10 in Sibu Jaya

So this week was ok.

Mom:  Are the chickens alive?

Elder Halpin: The chickens are all alive. You can take them home and let them free if you want.

Mom: What did the Sisters do with the Jellyfish?

Elder Halpin: They ate the jellyfish, unless they sold it to someone else to eat. I’ve had it, they make a soup, it’s pretty flavorless, kind of like eating solid water.

Mom: The inside of the longhouse is mostly empty except for some mats…and there are doors on the other wall.  Is that long room an inside common area/porch and are there living areas through the doors???   I had no idea a long house was so very long.  Are all the people living there related?

Elder Halpin: The longhouse. So basically the hall is the common area or lounge if you will. The doors on the left go into people’s individual houses and the doors on the right go outside to a walkway and steps. A lot of the people are related but not all. Back in olden days when someone got married they would usually build a room onto the end of the husband’s longhouse.

So first off Sigai went to Kapit on Wednesday. But he took pamphlets and his Book of Mormon. We have no way to contact him until he comes back, so we just have to hope everything goes well.

The sisters all are doing good, all praying and such. Only Ida came to church but the other 2 were sick. We went over the Word of Wisdom with them yesterday, no problems, occasional buah pinang but they promised to not chew it anymore. It is Beetle Nut, a thing they chew here sometimes that is really red. It makes them look like their mouth is bleeding, and gives you a buzz/small high. Also, because they are making such good progress and because they wanted it they have moved their baptism date from the 15th of November to the 11th of October.

The winds of change....

At the beginning of last transfer I felt like I needed to work on my faith and also that I needed to be more bold, both when teaching and finding. I have been working on that and I felt because of that I have improved a lot.

So basically there is this thing called MLC, it stands for Mission Leadership Council (or The Jedi Council as it is popularly known). Basically all the zone leaders from the whole mission go to Singapore Once a month for this meeting. At this particular one last week Elder Allen (the head of the Missionary department for the last 20 years) from church headquarters came. Basically he strongly told everyone that as a mission we need to make some improvements in our teaching skills and such, not exactly sure, wasn’t there. Anyway he gave a whole list of changes in the way we will do things from now on, not sure what’s on the list, tomorrow, at zone meeting, we will find out. The zone leaders hinted the it was very major???? We will see.

One thing he did do though was talk about faith. Before he came here he was in England. He said that one of the Elders there asked why they weren’t baptizing 1000's like Wilford Woodruff did. He answered that it was because they lacked faith and desire. He then promised everyone there, in the name of Jesus Christ, that they could all find somebody, maybe a former investigator maybe a part member family maybe someone new, that would have the desire and be ready to be baptized by the next week. Apparently it worked because there was a heap of baptisms there in the next few weeks after that. So although he didn’t make that promise to our mission in particular I took it upon myself to find that person. After exhaustively looking through our area book and thinking about all of our potentials and part member families we found a bunch to push for, and will be working on that this week, tell you how it goes next week. One in particular was an old investigator named Gilbert who was taught around the end of 2013. He is a 15 year old Iban kid, I met him once at his door. Basically he wanted and was ready to be baptized but then his mother decided he couldn’t be baptized until the 27th of December...  Anyway, as time went on he lost his desire and stopped coming to church and wouldn’t meet with the Elders. Anyway as I looked at his teaching record I felt that we should try him again. That night in my prayers I prayed that he would have the desire to come to church again. This was Saturday night.

The next day he came to church and met with us afterwards. We asked why he came and he said that he just woke up that morning and felt like he should come to church. He is too busy to meet during the week but will meet us again after church next week. Miracle!

Anyway, love you guys. Good luck with the fleas...

Elder Halpin


Last week, the photographer was a 9 year old child, 
so you can’t tell, 
but I’m about 10 feet off the ground in jungle trees that are running over themselves like in Tarzan.

Each block in the flats has its own character and things unique to it. 
Block F for instance, has a swamp at one end which it shares with Block E, 
Block D has a badminton court in the courtyard, 
Block C is the ghetto and most of it is empty, 
the Block J courtyard is always full of mottos, 
Block K is the party block, almost every single time I go there somebody is blasting rave/techno music across the whole block. 
Block L likes karaoke more than most and most lessons are disturbed by this, 
Block A is the Muslim block. 
Anyway this is part of the Block F/E swamp.

A beaded tie that Sister Kat made. 
Ibans are kind of famous for all the bead work they do. 
I bought this one with some of my birthday money.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

August 31, 2014 – Trip to the Beach with the Branch - Week 9 in Sibu Jaya

So this week was good!

Yes Dad, that was me, stores here do not use cards and if they do I really don’t trust them, cash is king.

We had some very productive lessons with some less active families and they came to church on Sunday! Also, the three sisters from the longhouse came to church as did Sigai and Victoria.

Victoria has been reading the Book of Mormon and also coming to church but we have been unable to meet her because of her schedule. Basically she’s going to school, after school she goes to work and doesn’t come back until late. On weekends, in the mornings, starting at 10 she is taking classes at a local thing, in the afternoons she usually works again. So, basically there is no time to meet her... Just have to wait and see how it goes.

Lulong, Ida and Talot are doing good. We finished the gospel and taught about the Sabbath this week, and they came to church.

Sigai is way sick, he has read all the way to Mosiah 9. Sometimes when he doesn’t understand he reads the passage 2 or 3 times until he does. We taught the word of wisdom on Sunday, he has no problems with that except for tea, coffee and drinking in social situations (ie, Gawai) however, he committed to live it. He goes to Kapit for work for 2 weeks starting on Friday. So we pushed back his date 1 week so that he can be interviewed and also to make sure he’s ready. This will kind of be a trial by fire for him with the word of wisdom, hopefully he does good. We will be meeting him the next 3 days until he goes. His wife, Bibi, is improving a lot, she has been listening to everything now, and we are hoping that she has the desire to keep meeting once Sigai goes to Kapit so that we can catch her up and maybe the two of them can be baptized together.

Sorry if my email is full of typos, my keyboard is janky and I’m sick of repairing my typos.

Today was way fun, the branch had an activity. We went to the beach at Mukah. We took private busses. My previously casted arm got grievously burnt. It’s not white anymore. There were lots of longhouses on the road there and the beach was located next to a longhouse where 5 members from Mukah branch stay. I got to look inside and walk up and down it, it literally took like 3 minutes to walk the length of it. Sigai came and helped cook the meat, he has already made a few friends. The sisters also came (they spent a lot of the time collecting jellyfish, I helped a bit), they had fun. Found a baby monitor lizard (biawak), it was very vicious, would jump at you and not let go once it bit something like a flip flop. Also a baby shark, pretty cool. Also a horseshoe crab, also cool.

So, fleas.... eek. That’s unfortunate. Also the food, unfortunate... Speaking of mice, we hear rats in the ceiling a lot. One advantage Malaysia has to America is that the walls are concrete, the mice and rats can’t go through the walls.

Good that the house is clean though!


Elder Halpin


Looking down the outside of the longhouse from the middle.

The end looks deceivingly close, the people at the end of the hall are adults. 
i have another picture with me at the end but its blurry, i am the same size as them.

Random picture, this is one of many ways they sell fowl at the market, they just wrap them in a newspaper, put a string on it and call it good, no need for refrigeration.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 24, 2014 – Where There Is Smoke… - Week 8 in Sibu Jaya

This week was rather difficult for me, but also way good!

Sigai came back and we’ve met him a couple times! He came to church on Sunday and has been reading and praying. His wife is still really not interested, but we will just give her time. The next lesson we will be going over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will also go over the word of wisdom with him. It will interesting to see what happens, if he has any big word of wisdom issues then it could make meeting his Sept 20th date difficult and we may have to push it back, but if he is good or is easily able to overcome them I think he will be good.

Church, ah church. So, basically we forgot stuff at the house and had to go back so we were 10 minutes late. After sacrament meeting when everyone went upstairs for classes it became apparent that somebody had locked the door to get into one half of the building. Nobody has a key to this door, and it’s a nice knob, you can’t “butter knife” it. Anyway it has happened a couple times before and basically an Elder has to climb out the back window and walk along this ledge holding onto window grates and climb in the window on the other side and unlock it from the inside. The new senior couple wouldn’t have any of it so we were stuck in one half of the building for classes...... Ugh. Anyway people kept asking what this smell was, nobody could place it. Finally the primary kids were all like "it’s smoke, it’s smoke" and then everyone realized that is what it was. So everyone proceeded to leave class and look for the fire. We were worried that it was in the locked half so we went out the window and unlocked the other half – NOPE, it wasn’t.  Turned out to be the electric meter (not an Itron one) at the bottom of the stairs. It basically was melting and smoking and had been charring the wood board it was mounted on. Anyway, end of church for the day.

The sisters are doing good, met last night and talked about priesthood and priesthood authority to do baptisms and such. They came to a district activity Monday night, however there was a problem and they nor Sister Seleha, (their ride) were able to come to church, next week though.

Victoria came to church, also met her this week while riding to an appointment. She agreed to meet after church but then the whole church was filled with electrical smoke, so that was scratched. I don’t think she’s working as much anymore so I’m hoping we can start meeting her during the week.

Brother John is still Brother John. He knows the church is true, he’s just telling himself he’s not sure because he couldn’t kick smoking last time. Whenever I try and direct the conversation towards something deep he just avoids it. Anyway, I feel like the only way he can make any progress is if we can actually talk to him without all the random rhetoric. Still trying to figure out how to do that.

Last Monday we stayed the night at the Zone Leaders house and on Tuesday had Zone Council, just a new name for Zone Meeting. It was way good. Afterwards went on splits with the Zone Leaders. I stayed in Sibu Jaya and Elder Kavapalu stayed in Sibu. Pretty good. On Thursday one of the APs went on splits with the other Sibu Jaya Elders. That was pretty good, got to hear a bit about President Mains' vision for the mission and such.

So ya,

Thanks a lot for the birthday present!!!  If you guys really want to open the tube you can.... Just don’t let somebody break it. Also there are no darts in there and I had to remove the bayonet and sight before I shipped it.

Can’t wait to see the new cabinets & kitchen when I get back!

Love you guys!

Elder Halpin

Sigai, his wife Bibi and their daughter Pira. 
Classic example of "Kampung face," this is a condition a lot of Ibans get where they don’t smile in pictures.

Elder Kavapalu and I at church, 
he wore his Tongan dress "pants" yesterday.

Random Melayu guy we met down the street from our house, 
moments before he had killed this king cobra.