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.

August 17, 2014 – I’m Free - Cast is Gone! - Week 7 in Sibu Jaya

This week was pretty good. First off want to apologize, I managed to forget my card reader again....

Anyway, Monday was hectic. After emailing we went down to a photo print shop to print pictures and such.

Tuesday and Wednesday we met with a lot of people so Elders Chan and Hill could say goodbye. Also on Wednesday morning my cast came off!!! There was a lot of dead skin.  Now my wrist is just way stiff. Less stiff than it was, and it’s getting better. Also a bit skinny and white...

Monday morning Elder Chan went to Miri and at about 5 Elder Kavapalu came from Miri. He is in the same group as Elder Lafontaine, he hasa about 5 1/2 months left. He is from Australia but his family is from Tonga. He played a lot of rugby. You’re going to have to wait until next week to see a picture...

Lulong, Ida and Talot are doing good. They have been praying and Talot read a little. They also said they would come to church but never showed. We will see them again this week.

Phillip is doing well.

Sigai went to Kapit last week after church and hasn’t come back yet.

John is doing alright.

I’m getting tripped out right now. Someone down the row of computers is listening to a grunge/heavy metal song that I remember particularly liking before the mission. Anyway, it’s making me uncomfortable now.... I guess I didn’t really realize how much more sensitive to the Holy Ghost I have become.

This Sister Nayen and her husband Donny came to church for the first time since I have been here. She is the primary president, having lived in Kuala Lumpur she can speak English and was able to translate for Sister Mills leaving me in a supportive roll. It was very nice, good to have a break.

Anyway the week has been good and I look forward to getting a lot done this week.

Sounds like fun Adam! That’s way cool David!!!


Elder Halpin

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 10, 2014 – Baptism’s Around the Corner - Week 6 in Sibu Jaya

So, the good news! My cast comes off on Wednesday! Good thing too, I’m getting truly sick of it! All the members say that if they were me they would have slid their hand out by now (putting it back in when they go to the doctor again), they don't particularly trust doctors all that much.

Also, not sick from the water!!!

Breakfast today was Pau, a Chinese food. Basically it’s like bread with filling. Today I had a buttermilk one and a peanut one. They cook it by steaming it. The crust is very thin and a bit chewy, the whole thing is moist and delicious.

We are waiting for transfers. This morning Sister Mains sent me a text asking about my wrist, I answered that it was good the cast would come off Wednesday. After that she replied saying “that’s great! See you Wednesday night...." The only way I would see her on Wednesday night is if I go to Singapore... However if I transfer to Singapore I would be leaving Thursday morning, which makes me believe that maybe I am training. There are a bunch of Malay elders coming in.... But if I’m training that means that either Elder Chan is leaving or I am leaving and am whitewash training somewhere else....

The work this week was great. We went to see Brother John again last night, he wasn’t so bad, we’ve figured our new approach will be to just focus on him, and it seemed to work.

Sister Lulong is doing good, we put her and her 2 sisters Ida and Talot on date for the 15th of November. They each own a door in the mini 3 door longhouse. They are way cool.

Victoria had to work again...

Phillip is solid as always.

New investigator! So basically the other Elders met this guy while out and about, his name is Sigai. Last year he was working in Miri and started learning from the sisters there. He’s way smart, and pretty much gets everything and can explain it back. Way cool guy. We met him on Thursday, we sit down start talking for a bit and he’s like, "I really wanted to be baptized before but then I came back and was too shy to ask about it" way cool. Shared the restoration and put him on date for the 20th of September. His family is a bit sketchy... Basically his former wife cheated on him with a Muslim guy and then left him and entered Islam... He is good legally, we saw his IC card, but we think some of his children are Muslim now. Anyway, he came to church and stayed the whole time but then had to take off to catch the boat to Kapit. He comes back Saturday. We will meet him again this week after he comes back and see how it goes.

Speaking of Muslims, we can talk to them all we want, just not about the gospel. This family was a member’s sister who married into Islam, they have been having the missionaries over for raya for years. We typically have English class every week at one of the members homes. This week, at English class, there were 2 Muslims. When I was in Matang we were good friends with the Muslim owner of the restaurant next to the church. They really aren’t all that scary, promise.

30 minutes till transfers come (theoretically). Very "transfer trunky" right now. I really want to just stay in Sibu Jaya.

Yesterday, after Church, Sister Seleha invited us over for lunch and after that we took her to her cousin’s Kampung just down the road. We talked with them for a while and they asked us to come back later this week and teach them. Way cool. Also I don’t think a white person had come there before, there was a lot more staring and shyness than usual. They gave us a LOT of "cempedak." It doesn’t have an English name. Just a scientific one. Google it. Same stuff we picked from the jungle last week. Anyway, when we went last week we picked like 20 of these things. I thought they were going to sell them. Nope, just for eating.  I have had more of this stuff this week than rice and noodles combined, that’s saying something. Raw, fried, the seeds soaked and boiled you name it I’ve eaten it.

No answer on extending yet.

David, good job on the priesthood! I know you will be a great Deacon.

Something I forgot to tell you guys before, I have been put in charge of the Primary here.... Long story. Basically though, I showed up on the first Sunday and President Clement comes up to me and says "go, teach primary"... No plan no nothing... There are 7-15 children, ages 5-11, no classes, no music, one room, 2 hours..... Anyway, last week, a new senior couple, the Mills, came to Sibu Jaya. They have taken over planning primary. Now I just do singing time and teach the 5-8 year old class. This is much better.

You guys are AWESOME!

Transfers were not what anyone expected.... Elder hill is leaving Elder Strathearn. Elder Strathearn’s new companion is Elder Blackwelder, I’ve met him before, cool guy. Elder Chan is leaving, he will be finishing his mission in Miri as a Chinese Elder. Sometimes transfers incite rage in missionaries, this is one of those times, Elder Chan is not happy. Anyway I will be staying here, Elder Kavapalu will be replacing Elder Chan. He is Polynesian, for once I won’t be the biggest person around.

Elder Halpin

still waiting for transfers....

Elder Halpin

If this doesn't sum up my first four weeks at church nothing does.

Getting Cempedak

Lulong in white, Ida in stripes and Talot next to me.

Friday, August 8, 2014

August 3, 2014 – Jungle Survival Tips? The Work is Progressing - Week 5 in Sibu Jaya

This week was good.

Dad:  Did you have another calamity happen this week?

Elder Halpin: Yes something bad did happen this week father. I woke up on Friday with a bad back which continued until Sunday. Basically just way sore, not even sure what I did to it.... The curse continues...

No but really this week was good. Sister Lulong continues to progress. We taught the restoration and gospel of Jesus Christ this week. She seems to understand and is working on praying.

The Phillips family went to Kampoung early Sunday morning because Sister Sarawa

s’ father went to the hospital. Anyway, he and his son Lawrence stayed and came to church. He’s so solid, more than a lot of members.

Brother Belayong is a recent convert. He’s a way cool guy. He’s done just about everything and then some - sword smith, farmer, general worker, fisherman at sea, keeper of the sultan of Brunei's horses and then some. He also owns every animal under the sun, chickens, a goat, pigs, sivets, a slow loris, cats, dogs, a hummingbird and a lot of pigeons also a monkey. Anyway we’ve been helping him get into the habit of reading and also helping him understand the various doctrines more. On Thursday we went over and he had randomly bought a baby monkey from a guy who also tried to sell him a sun bear, he didn’t want the bear though because it wasn’t a cub and was already fierce he said.

Victoria is doing well, came to church again this week.

Kevin and John not so much. John doesn’t really want to listen to us and always belittles Kevin. So not sure what to do. We will see.

My wrist continues to stink. Next Wednesday, not 2 days from now but next week, the cast should be good to come off. Doctor says it’s healing fast.

Went to a hill looking over Sibu Saturday morning.

Went to Sister Selehas’ "farm" this morning with her family and sister Kat. Basically it is just the jungle. Anyway we gathered bamboo shoots, rubber tree leaves, like last time, and also jackfruit. Also found a huge (6 inches across) sugarcane. Also, we used bamboo to knock down fruit and I mentioned that I had heard that you can drink the water in bamboo. I was laughed at by everyone and told it was dirty. I asked what to do then if I was lost in the jungle with no water. They explained that you just find a clean river... Anyway there was small creek which they said was clean, no plantations or people living near it. They were like "ya, just drink it." I was like "no you have to boil it", once again laughed to pieces. Sister Seleha proceeded to cut a cup from bamboo and got some water from this brown creek and proceeded to drink, then passed it around to everyone else. All the Malaysians, including Elder Chan, drank with complete confidence not worrying about anything, so, I did too... If I wake up tomorrow with giardia I will never trust Iban’s about jungle survival again. Anyway on the way there we drove/walked through some rice paddies that back in the day (1962-1990, was when the war was) where the communist rebels camped/hid.

Anyway, good week, sounds like yours was good too. Scout camp was always a blast and dad, how fast were you going?

Elder Halpin

Pictures this week:

Climbing the hill. It was nice and grassy so I went barefoot.

At a Muslim guy's Hari Raya party.

The baby monkey. 
It was sleepy, pretty much instantly fell asleep if you held it.

July 27, 2014 – Calamities and Hard Work, Good Week - Week 4 in Sibu Jaya

Glad you all had a good week camping and trekking and such.

So basically the doctor decided to take the day off... Hari raya, ya know!? Basically the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast is over and everyone is taking the week off. I’ll go in on Wednesday instead.

Also, I did get the letter from Brother Brower, also one from Brother Waters. I wrote them both letters and went to send them, forgot my wallet... Then forgot to try again. They are in my box of letters... Please apologize to them for me. I will re-write them and send this week. Eeek, I feel like a jerk now...

SIB stands for Saints in Borneo. A Protestant church started in the 1950s by some Australian missionaries. They generally don’t like us. One of their members tried to bible bash with me once...

This week went well.

Sister Lulong is coming along. We went to the longhouse on Tuesday and shared the restoration with her. She can’t read, but she said she would pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet.

John and Kevin are doing all right. We went over there on Friday to talk about Jesus and his life and also faith. The family is very receptive, and Kevin has read some more. We are having some difficulties with John. He is very knowledgeable about the gospel but he doesn’t use it in anyway helpful. He has some attitude problems that are making trying to figure out how to help him difficult.....

Brother Phillip and family are good.

We got an old investigator back. Victoria is 16, she is friends with a lot of the youth. Her family doesn't care what she does but doesn't want to be involved. She received 2 lessons about 3 months ago and then went to Kampung where she disappeared for 3 months.  Probably the most sincere investigator I’ve ever had. She has come to church the past 2 weeks and is reading the Book of Mormon. Yesterday we went over the plan of salvation with her, she asked a lots of questions and took notes. It was very cool. She said that she wanted to be baptized, but on her birthday, January 24, 2015.... Maybe after we teach, in depth, about baptism she will want to be baptized sooner. I don’t think she really understands it completely yet. Anyway, way cool.

So, basically, the calamities keep coming to me... so first off my first week in Sibu Jaya I got sick one night and had the infamous "double-headed dragon" symptom as it is known.Tthen at the end of that week, of course, I broke my wrist. Anyway, on Thursday I woke up sick, lost 10-12 pounds in the course of 4-6 hours. We have a scale in our kitchen and I regularly stand on it. Weighed 220 when I woke up and 209 at lunch...

Otherwise things are good. Elder Chan just got his release date in his email, September 25th. Speaking of the 25th, Elder Strathearn has the same birthday as me. If we are both still here we are going to go hard, since we can legally drink, we will probably go to the night club across from the church.... Hahaha, just kidding.

Bathrooms that don’t work are annoying. The light in our bathroom burnt out and we are too lazy to buy a new one and replace it. I just tied my headlamp to the water pipe and we use that. It pretty much illuminates the whole room. Also electricity that breaks is annoying. Ours is particularly janky. We came home from church and the outlet our refrigerator was plugged into had exploded and melted. We are using a different outlet now...

With love,

Elder Halpin


Victoria, Sister Bia, the young womens advisor, and I.

The day we went into the jungle. This is rubber, latex. It dries on your fingers like a latex glove. It's what put Sibu on the map originally, rubber plantations. Basically people have been burning the jungle around Sibu Jaya all this week to make rice paddies. This tree was to be burnt so we didn't feel bad chopping into it.

The haircut Sister Kat gave me, I  went to a barber and had it chopped off that evening, it was horrendous.

Cassandra, one of Brother Phillip's and Sis Sarawas children, found a kitten that somebody stepped on and brought it home. Basically its wrist is broken and it would hobble around on it bending it in all sorts of wrong directions screeching all the while. Anyway I made a "splint/cast" for it and now it slides on its forearm and doesn't scream. We will take it off when I take off mine and see if it heals, I don't have much hope...