Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 21, 2014 – The Work Continues, Busy, Busy, Busy - Week 3 in Sibu Jaya

Good week. So first off my wrist. It is doing good, no pain, I assume it’s healing. The name of the bone I broke is called the scaphoid bone. It’s one of the small bones in the wrist. It usually heals up fine depending on where it is broken and if the parts have separated. My particular fracture isn’t separated yet. Basically I will go back to the Doctor in 1 more week to get more x-rays and see how it’s doing. If it’s good should be 4-6 more weeks of the cast. If it is "bad" then they may need to do surgery and hook them together with a screw.... if that happens it’s almost certain I will get transferred to Singapore and depending on things I guess there is a chance I could get sent home for medical (highly doubt it though)... Anyway don’t dwell on it, the doctor said the chance of that happening is only 10%-15% percent, not too likely. Already had a blessing too, so I should be good!

Showering with one hand up is way annoying...

Typing with one hand is so slow!!!!! The above paragraph took like 10 minutes, I’m sure!!!

A couple things that I have just generally forgotten to tell you.

I am the district leader here. Basically means nothing but every Sunday night I report ours and the other Sibu Jaya companionship’s numbers to the zone leaders. It also means that on Tuesday I conduct district meeting and give some training.

My bike is a boss! It’s a 5 year old one I picked up in Ipoh! It was purchased back in the day when the mission paid for bicycles, (would have been nice, right?). So there was no budget and this 7 foot tall Elder got one custom shipped from America because he couldn't find one tall enough. It’s got the old style equipment so maintenance is way cheap. Also it’s tall (duh). Way nice on the knees. Basically goes to show the crappiness of Chinese stuff. The bike that I bought off the missionary when he went home was falling apart when I got to Ipoh. It was going to need several hundred ringgit worth of repairs. Anyway there was this 5 year old bike sitting there that nobody owned. It was basically just ridden by random Elders around Ipoh for 5 years. So I took it and ditched my piece of junk Chinese bicycle. Only a few problems since, replacing a broken quick release with a bolt, the brake pads and a tire. Best decision I ever made concerning transportation. American made stuff for life!

So this week!

Had both the good and the bad. First off Roseline got anti’d by her in-laws. Although her husband works in Kapit we have met him a couple times and he is way cool, really wants to learn when he stops working in Kapit. So maybe then we will try again.

We went and taught John again, it was ok, I have a lot of hope that his family will come back and John will be baptized. Also his nephew who lives there is super cool. His name is Kevin, he is 9. Anyway, saw him looking at my Book of Mormon over dinner, so gave him one. the next time we visited (2 days later) he had taken it upon himself to read the title page, introduction, the testimonies of the 3 and 8 witnesses and Joseph Smith’s testimony! Pretty cool kid!

We also got a referral this week from Sister Seleha. Basically it’s two of her friends that live in her Kampung five minutes down the highway. They live in a miniature 3 door longhouse. First time in a longhouse. They are named Lulong and Ida. They are SIB but are pretty interested in learning.

We are meeting with a lot of people.

Everyone is talking about MH 17... Saying that the number 7 is unlucky and that Malaysian Airlines is going to be bankrupt. Then there will be nothing left but Air Asia (that would be awful, they would make you pay for your parachute on the spot if there was an evacuation at altitude, all jokes aside its true).

We get fed a lot here, more than any other area so far. I am really beginning to like Iban food.

We are trying to get Home Teaching started. On my mission I have come to realize its importance. I didn’t put much stock in it before. I will be 100% after my mission for sure. I feel that if we could get it started solid in Sarawak it would solve and prevent a lot of problems.

Always looking for investigators. The cast is actually a way good contacting tool. Just walk through the flats and inevitably someone asks what’s wrong with my hand, bam, ice broken!

Speaking of ice, I am addicted to Malaysian otter pops. Sister Kat makes Limau (lime) ones from fresh limes from her tree that are ridiculously good. Too good, and cheap. Elder Chan and I ordered 50 about 4 days ago, I think 20ish are left... Killed my immune system and caught a cold. Serves me right....

This morning went into the jungle with Sister Kat, to gather Sayur and Buah (vegetables and fruit). Not much luck with the fruit as none was ripe. But we did gather a lot of sayur, a rice bag’s worth of 3 main types. Also sampled a few others. I am confident now that if I was lost in the jungle here I could at least find enough food to comfortably survive. Water would be a different picture. Drank 3 liters in 5 hours...

Elder Halpin

Pictures this week:

A "ningit." 
Basically a large variety of fly that Iban's sometimes eat. 
It’s the size of my thumb.

At Brother John’s house, Sister Sutia, his wife, is in the door and Kevin is wearing the red shirt. 
The cat is probably the biggest house cat I have seen in my life.

At Brother Tabor and Sister Jelitas house. 
One of my favorite families here. Brother Tabor is way cool.

Lunch in the jungle, Elder Strathearn is the other Elder. 
His comp is Elder Hill from my MTC group. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 14, 2014 – Great Week! … but Ouch! - Week 2 in Sibu Jaya

So..... This week was great!!!!

The best thing this week was teaching 17+ lessons! A new record for me, my previous was 11 in Ipoh.

We have some new people learning. Brother John and his wife Sister Sutia. He is an inactive member but wants to come back. He was 1 week away from baptism when Sister Sutia was baptized, however, smoking killed him. We will work with him again.

Sister Kat is 37 not 60... Anyway we helped her in her kebun (farm, garden) on Friday. Learned how to find, harvest, prepare and cook bamboo chutes it was very interesting.

The worst thing that happened this week goes like this...

So the members here like to kecau (tease, trick, make fun of, use awful Malaysian sarcasm on, etc.) the Elders.

We were at Sister Seleha and family's home (a recent convert family) last night for family home evening. We had lots of fun. They tell us the activity is going to be outside, everyone goes outside. A flour fight ensues... Way fun. Unfortunately it had been raining a bit and as I ran out from under the parking shelter my feet flew out from under me and I landed on my left hand/wrist. Long story short I am typing this in a cast that I got earlier today.... Yes I fractured my wrist..... It should take about 2 months to heal. I can still ride a bike more or less.

Anyway, that’s Elder Halpin’s week.

Honestly I’m in good spirits and not too worried about my wrist. The work here is too good to be worried about things like that. Basically I tied my tie one handed today, thus it is short. I also forgot to shave. I also need a haircut that I’ve been too busy today to get...

Sibu Jaya is the best!!!!


Elder Halpin

Pictures this week:

Me with Sister Doris and family
She is a recent convert.

In a tree gathering fruit.

Elder Chan and I with a short tie and broken wrist.
This was literally taken minutes ago.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 6, 2014 – Different Mission, again? - Week 1 in Sibu Jaya

So basically this has been the biggest change since coming out on my mission.

Sibu Jaya is very different than anywhere I’ve been before. Basically it’s tiny, but huge. Basically there are a few shoplots and 2-3 terrace house neighborhoods and then there are the flats (apartments). Also 2 schools, a police station and market area. Our longest bike ride is about 5-10 minutes. There are over 400 members on the branch list. We have 2 of the 3 terrace house areas and flats A-L and the other Elders have the other terrace area and flats M-T.

I’m pretty sure there are more Ibans here than in all my previous areas combined. I think I’ve only seen like 5 Muslims since I arrived. Also Sibu Jaya has had 28 baptisms since the year began, more than any other branch by a long shot.

Basically it was opened about 3 1/2 years ago and has been on fire since. The only problems Sibu Jaya has are created by the members themselves. The branch has sort of been rocked by a few events and it has caused a lot of people bad feelings and such. Basically the only problem is that the branch is suffering structurally.

We live in a dilapidated terrace with the other Elders.

Currently we have 2 progressing investigators, Phillip and Roseline. Phillip’s family was baptized about a month ago and he just stopped working in Kapit and now works here in Sibu Jaya. He wants to be baptized very much and was very disappointed when he found out he had to wait a year to go to the temple. All that’s holding him back is a discectomy, which will be taken out in 6 months. He has to wait until then.

Roseline, is a referral from Sister Kat (more about her later). She has a couple kids that are young and a husband, who works in Kapit, named Onnie, who really wants to learn but can’t because he’s not here. She is on date for the 16th of August. 

Basically all of the baptisms have been member referrals. There are enough members, recent converts and less active members here that we have scheduled appointments from 2-3 pm until 9-10 pm. We have no time to go contacting, it’s wonderful.

The branch President’s name is Clement. He drives a taxi. He’s cool.

A lot (the majority) of members here were referrals from Sister Kat. Sister Kat is about 60 and from Indonesia. She sells kuey, most of the time (snacks), because she can’t get normal work. As she does she shares the gospel and gets to know everybody in the whole place, and then introduces them to us. The only thing that stops her from going back to Indonesia is that there is no church there. She is boss! She knows more scripture references then I do I’m quite sure.

All the members here are bosses. They also like to kecau the Elders a lot (tease).

My new companion is Elder Chan and he is way cool. Like I said before he is from Kuala Lumpur. His father is an Area Seventy in the church.

This week we had district conference at Sibu district center so the entire branch loaded into a bus and went there. Kind of a weird first Sunday. Anyway way cool.

Also yes I did start the acne stuff. Also I forgot to take a picture of just me and Elder Chan... Next week... to email we bus into Sibu town.

Also sorry it’s one paragraph no time to fix it up didn’t even get to say everything I wanted to.

Mom: So this is a required question (you must answer). Tell me the highlight of your time in Samarahan…  What is the best experience you had and why?

Elder Halpin: The best experience I had in Samarahan? Probably helping to reactivate Brother Beliang. Most of his family was active when I arrived but he wasn’t. He would come once every 4 or so weeks and just stay for sacrament and then leave. We started visiting him and shared about faith and the Book of Mormon. We got them to start reading the Book of Mormon every night and such. Anyway by the time I left he was coming every Sunday for all 3 hours. He was also actually fulfilling his calling as Branch Mission Leader. Way cool. The second to last time I met with them he shared his testimony. He said that before this year he didn’t understand faith. As he started to pray and read and come to church he felt his faith grow and begin to carry him through trials and such. Way awesome. They are planning to go to the temple in 4 years as soon as Brother Jackson is out of the military (you can’t leave the country if in the military). Also working with Bro Clement’s family. Saw a lot of spiritual growth there.

Mom: So what is “ngajating and poco pocoing and jogeting?”

Elder Halpin: "ngajating and poco pocoing and jogeting". All dancing. ngajat traditional Iban/Bidauyuh/Orang Ulu dance. Poco Poco everyone’s favorite line dance. It’s basically the electric slide... Joget is just generic dancing. Just kind of shift from one side to the other and move your arms and such. Really simple, it’s how people dance here. It’s way funny when you see a crowd of people just jogeting to some Iban rock music. 


Elder Halpin


Me and a Slow Loris right after it got a bath. 
Definitely in the jungle.

Inside the courtyard of one of the flats. 
People here love Astro.

With Chiping and Evelyn’s family, way fun. 
Believe it or not the baby is not actually 
screaming he’s just making a face.

Elder Chan with his Father and Sister Kat.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

June 30, 2014 – “King of Kuching” Transfering to Sibu Jaya - Week 24 in Kuching

Mom:  The Book of Mormon musical is coming to Spokane.  It does not treat the church or missionaries kindly.  Anyway...there is a big PR push by the local Stakes to use this negative publicity to get non-members and members talking about the church, especially missionary work, and turn the negative into a positive.  Part of the plan is to do a social media blitz and share your own or family missionary experiences via facebook, etc.  They did this in other cities where the musical was playing and it was very successful.  Anyway....if we posted about your missionary experience, WHAT IS SOMETHING you would want us to SHARE?

Elder Halpin: As for the Book of Mormon thing you can share anything I’ve shared and I will think about it and send a maybe a better response next week.

Way sick Adam about the Japeechen camp out. Also how do you manage to break 3 iPods?.

The chocolate was sedap. Also I wear the 40s. The 38s must be older than I thought because I know for a fact that I am smaller than when I left on my mission...

Also on a different note, if I wanted to extend (it would be for 1 transfer (6 weeks)) would you guys be alright with that? It would mean I would come home the first week of June instead of the last week of April.

So. transfers...

I am going to Sibu Jaya, it’s an area next to the city Sibu. My new companion is Elder Chan,  he is from Kuala Lumpur. Should be fun! A bunch of the YSA here going to school are from Sibu Jaya. From what I hear the branch mostly consists of a set of large flats in the middle of the jungle an hour from Sibu proper. Anyway, I hear the branch has about 80-90 people coming to church.

Samarahan has been fun I’m going to miss it. Elder Lafontaine is going to Bintulu to train.  Elder Capener and Elder Allen are going to continue on alone here in Samarahan.

This week was kind of pell-nell. On Wednesday, the Jarrau family ended up being too busy to meet and we haven’t been able to get back over there. Instead we went to visit Sister Merina. We met her son Jackie who was on vacation from work in west Malaysia as a welder. He seems pretty interested and said he would read the Book of Mormon. There is no church where he works but he said when it comes there then he would learn. Way cool guy.

Went to Kampong Rembus with the other Elders to meet the members there on Thursday and also went to visit Brother Niga, he is preparing to receive the Melchezedek Priesthood.

Saturday we had a closing Gawai party with the whole branch, lots of food and ngajating and poco pocoing and jogeting and such. Also a Gawai tree that we set up in the foyer. Great fun.

Sunday everybody was sick. Literally everyone. I mean that everybody who came to the party and ate the food was sick. All 50 of them. There was a line for the bathroom the entire meeting. When I had to go I just walked to our house...

Sunday evening we met with Sister Lucy’s parents they are way good reading and praying, and are on date for the ninth of August.
Overall good week. We have a group family home evening tonight at the church most of branch should be there, it will be a good way to say goodbye to everyone.

My time in Samarahan has been good. We actually have found "good" (progressing ones who have a somewhat strong desire to learn) investigators and have done a lot of good with the less active and recent convert members here. We have managed to raise attendance from 25-35 to 40-50. In the next transfer anywhere from 2 up to 15 people should be getting baptized including both our and the other Elders investigators. I am going to miss all the great members here transferring sucks.

Also last Sunday was district conference and President Mains came to Kuching. It was rather funny because he asked who was present that had been present at the June one last year and I was able to raise my hand. I have been labeled the "King of Kuching" and it has been predicted that after 1 transfer in Sibu Jaya I will be transferred back to Kuching..... Anyway whenever there is a district event here it’s way nice because I get to see a bunch of members from Matang, at district conference 5 families invited me back to visit, it kind of sucks because I have no time to.

Anyway I guess I should send you guys some pictures... I’ve been kind of bad at it.


Elder Halpin


This Morning we went to an Orangutan reserve. Way cool. They come around to eat fruit that the park puts out.

Closing Gawai Branch Party

This Morning we went to an Orangutan reserve. 
Way cool! 
They come around to eat fruit that the park puts out.