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.

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