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.