Monday, April 20, 2015

April 19, 2015 – Going to Miss the People I’ve Come to Love… - Week 12 in Sabah

So last email.

This week was good. Not a lot to report though.

Celynne’s not baptized yet, just on date.

We have an appointment with Sally later, should be good.

Cherilyn and Tan are doing well too.

Mothi is also doing well. We met on Saturday, taught a lesson and then went to his older brother’s birthday party, way fun.

I’m giving my bike to Adrian.

My last day of church was good, gave a talk, kind of did a preview of my returning talk. I gave at least 3 prayers in 2 classes, haha. Took a lot of pictures with members. Ate my last kampung food.

Anyway, it has been interesting, I think I always thought the end would feel different from the beginning, the last week would feel different then a middle one. Nope. It, for the most part, felt like any other week. Just kept on working like normal, just another week.

I’m in shock, I can’t really explain what I’m feeling. Indescribably sad to be leaving all the people I’ve come to love.

You gotta love the journey, not just the destination.

Love you guys, see you in a few days.

Elder Halpin,

Over n, out.

Andryano, Faralia, Me.

Elder Yang and I

April 12, 2015 – Conference… - Week 11 in Sabah

The last week of my mission.

Going hard!

This past week was good.

So yeah, we will all fly together to Seattle, and then will go our separate ways. I guess I never told you but Elder Paul from our group in the MTC went home for medical about a year out, he got a way nasty eye infection and was going to need surgery and such. So just 10 of us. Also a bunch of Sisters from another group, I know a couple of them, I guess one of them is from the Spokane East Stake or something.

Eeeesh, hip replacement just doesn’t sound fun. I hope my knees and back hold out.

General Conference was good, there were several talks that stood out to me, I liked the Saturday morning session. Also, those guys who stood up and were like "no". Interesting idea.

Anyway, Mothi, Cherilyn, Tan and Sally all came to conference.

Sally coming really was miracle. When she came to District conference we actually had not had a teaching appointment with her yet. So we had not taught her anything. Anyway District conference turned out to be probably the worst church meeting I have had on my mission, not exaggerating. I think when I emailed you guys about it before I said it was good, that was a lie, I was trying to be positive. Anyway after that we had no hope that we would ever meet her again much less get her to church. So we just kept texting back and forth, we brought up conference. Anyway, Saturday night she texted asking if she could come with us to church on Sunday!  She ended up staying for both Sunday sessions! She liked the talks and was way intrigued by the ones about temples, so in between sessions we talked about that with her. Way cool. First time on my mission that I’ve had an investigator come to church twice without ever having a real lesson with them. Cherilyn and Tan are doing good. They were both on school trips this week but came to Sunday conference.

Mothi is doing good, his younger brother was sick Monday night and asked us to give him a blessing on Tuesday. On the way there he texted telling us his brother was feeling fine now. All good.

I’ve been writing letters to members in all of my past branches, it’s taking a LONG time. I don’t understand how some Elders manage to write their girlfriends everyday... (I actually only know one who did and he stopped after about 9 months). I’m going to miss all of these people so much!!!! Really all of the fear/nervousness I felt about going home and the future has been replaced with sadness, I’m going to miss my mission terribly. 

Also, just found out, literally 30 seconds ago, that Celynne, Elder Wright and I's investigator from Singapore, is getting baptized! Way dope!!!


Elder Halpin

Elder Ferguson...

 No 4's. 
The 4 symbolizes death 
in Chinese culture.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 6, 2015 – Refocusing Our Investigators… - Week 10 in Sabah

This week has been really good!

That’s great news about Gladys and Bright!

We will be watching General Conference this upcoming week. But I did hear about the Temple in Haiti, that’s so wonderful! The church will also be building one in Bangkok, Thailand, which means that members here won’t have to go all the way to Manila or Hong Kong! Apparently it will cost about 1/8th what going to Manila would, members in West Malaysia and Singapore will be able to bus or take a train!

The Missionary work has been going good also!

We were able to meet with both Mothi and Cherilyn and Tan. We really felt like these lessons would be critical so we really tried to pray and figure out what they needed to hear.

We felt like Cherilyn and Tan needed to be refocused. They have been coming to church but not really reading or praying much, not really seeking out a testimony.  So we decided to just talk about our purpose. It really opened up the discussion and we were able to figure out where each of them were and also recommit them. The spirit was pretty strong and they felt it. Later that evening Cherilyn sent us a text thanking us and recommitting to build her faith. Way dope!

For Mothi we decided to really just focus on the gospel and especially on baptism. We met with him and also some of his siblings and his aunt. His aunt has learned before and when we read out of John how we need to be baptized she pointed to Mothi’s siblings and was like, "baptize these ones, they haven’t been baptized yet", way funny. He committed to be baptized on Oct 7th. Not sure why that day but that's what he wanted. We feel like he still feels like he’s not ready, we need to meet with him alone so that he’s not shy to talk about it in front of others.

Also were able to go meet with Adrian and Alana so that Yang could cut Adrian's hair, they are way dope!

Also met with Sakarius a less active member ye have met a couple times before. He’s from Indonesia. He also came to church! He’s way dope, it’s always fun to talk with Indonesians because they are very patriotic, they like to tell about their history and Indonesia.

My interview was good, but it’s not my departing one, that’ll be when I go to Singapore...

This morning we went to an island, way nice. That’s why we’re emailing late.


Elder Halpin

March 29 2015 – Referral Machine, Wahoo… - Week 9 in Sabah

This week was good. I’m short on time, Celynne, one of Elder Wright and I's (? my grammer is dead, how do you say that?) investigators from Singapore emailed me asking a bunch of questions about the church and receiving answers to prayers so I had to answer those first.

So first off we were not able to meet with any of our normal investigators, or really any of our members, or really any of the less active members that we normally meet with. Basically everyone was just busy all week.

We still managed to get a lot of work done this week though.

Peredick is coming along good, we met him and talked to him about milk before meat etc. It was good a lesson, we taught him how to bear his testimony effectively and how to introduce the gospel in a non- threatening way. So after the lesson he took us back through the sketchy part of Kota Kinabalu (again) to a convenience store that was next to something else. He introduced us to the workers at the convenience store and we contacted them, one of them, Lydia, seemed to actually be interested, we will try and meet with her in the next couple days. We met with him again on Saturday and he introduced us to more of his friends, this time some people that worked in a Catholic bible store, and some that worked in a Protestant bible store. Basically he is a referral machine, our primary goal this week will be to get them going.

We went contacting in Inanam, the place is loaded with Christians. We knocked on one door that turned out to be somebody that the missionaries had contacted in English 10 years before. She was down to listen anyway, she wanted to know what we thought about how we are saved. we talked for long time about a variety of stuff, Baptism for the dead, prophets, prayer (as an apostate Catholic she said she thought God was mad at her for saying what she wanted in prayers and asking questions and stuff, we told her that was perfect!) and bunch of other stuff. We committed her to read the pamphlet and she said we could meet again.

We met and contacted a ton more new people this week.

The weekend was District conference. President and Sister Mains came, I got interviewed for the first time since April of last year. District conference was way good, all of the members and missionaries came from Tawau and Sandakan (the other 2 cities with the church in Sabah) on buses. It was way nice.

Also, Cherilyne, Tan, Mothi and Sally came! Sally had a good experience, I have never seen better fellowship on my mission then here, even in Singapore! Pobably 10 people came up and introduced themselves, and other YSA's invited her to sit with them, way dope!

The day were in Inanam just as we were going to go back we happened to meet a less active member that we had tried to meet before but had been unable to. Her name is Melin she is really cool, she showed us where she lived so we could meet her sometime in the future.

Anyway that’s about it


Elder Halpin

Kota Kinabalu has been choked in smoke, 
it really needs to rain. 
It makes for pretty sunsets though.

Playing cards after a lesson with some members, 
Roy, Lem, Roy’s sibling and Mixter.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March 22 2015 – Shell Game, or, the Innocent Missionary… - Week 8 in Sabah

Apa khabar?

This week was pretty good.

Mom, maybe I shouldn’t email, I guess you can catch virus' through the internet...

The fires are mostly on purpose but then get out of control, it’s very common. Borneo gets drier the further north east you go, towards the Philippines. Thus Kuching and Sibu are the rainiest cities in Malaysian Borneo and all of Sabah is much drier. It’s still a rain-forest I guess but it has only really rained once since I’ve been here. It’s also the dry season. The grass is actually drying out and dying like it does in America. It’s really sad what’s happened to Borneo in the last 40-50 years. In Sarawak, for example, 90% of the original growth forest has been logged.

We were finally able to meet with Justiff’s family again! This time Gabriel, the father sat in on the lesson also, so that was way good. They have started to pray and read. We are really trying to get them to church.

Cherilyn and Tan are doing good. The problem is that they really don't have testimonies, they’re basically just going to church because it’s fun. We met with them on Thursday or something and originally planned to teach priesthood and auxiliaries but as we asked some questions and started figuring things out we changed the lesson and decided to focus on why and how we should gain a testimony. The lesson went alright, they are hopefully working on praying and reading consistently now. They had a school field trip so couldn't come to church this week.

Mothis’ family decided to go to Kampung on Friday until this week so we couldn't meet him and he couldn't come to church.

We were able to meet with Sally this week. She is a sort of a referral contact. Her family lives in Matang, next door to the Taman Sri Perkasa house, the one the other Elders lived in. Elder Yang lived in that house and had talked to her before but not about the church at the time. Kelvin Alexious knew her sort of and told us that she was going to school at UMS next door to us. So we got her number and set up an anointment. She is 27, WAY smart, working on her Masters degree in city planning and something else. Speaks very good English. We were talking about religion and she was saying that she had tried going to various churches around Kota Kinabalu but didn’t like them because the pastors didn’t teach anything they just praised themselves. So we continued talking and she was saying that she thought a lot of churches just said what the people wanted to hear not what Christ taught. She was going to come to church but then slept in, so next week.

On Monday evening we visited Brother Peredick. Elder Yang gave him a haircut and then he told us to follow him. So we followed him through the sketchy part of Kota Kinabalu to what turned out to be his cousin’s house. His name is Hipotomus, “Heap” for short. Brother Peredick immediately starts off by talking about how the Book of Mormon teaches us that Jesus was born on 6 April not Christmas. I'm just thinking, actually it doesn't and this isn't relevant at all. So we seized the conversation and started asking questions to try and ascertain his religious background, knowledge, etc. Suddenly Brother P (Peredick) goes off on a tangent about the temple... So after we recover from that we start teaching the restoration in brief. As we get to the part about praying to know for yourself I started to sense another tangent coming so I asked Brother P if he had ever prayed and gotten an answer. He responds "yes, but I think fasting is better...” so then came a fasting tangent.  Anyway Heap said we could come back. Next time we meet Brother Peredick we will teach him how to teach, he has a lot of missionary spirit, we found out later that earlier in the day he had taken the sisters to a different friend of his. So we've just got to coach him up a bit and it should be way good. But yeah, this story illustrates why coordination with members before a lesson is important.

We went on splits this week to show the other Elders more of the area and also to explore. I took Elder Ferguson to Inanama and Elder Yang took Elder Coloma to Kingfisher. We started off by getting into a van that went somewhere I had never been before. It went up a valley in the mountains past Dambai where Justiff lives and continued up until the end. At the end there was this way beautiful series of waterfalls and pools. A bunch of kids were there jumping off the cliffs into the pools. We stopped and took a few pictures then headed back down. At Inanam we found a massive open air market. It was huge but it was low. I had to duck to go through the whole thing, it was probably 5 feet tall on average. They had everything from chickens wrapped in newspaper to fruit and vegetables to clothes to flashlights. Anyway as we are walking we come up on this old guy sitting on the ground with a board in front of him. On the board was three coke bottle caps. I’m thinking "ok well this is interesting I’ve never seen this in real life". As we are standing a man comes up and excitedly puts down a 50 and the man puts a watermelon seed under one of the caps and mixes them up. The man easily picked the one with the seed and the old guy let out a half hearted moan and gave the other guy his 50 plus another. I’m thinking "well that's interesting, these guys suck at acting, this is one of those classic youth takes his inheritance to the city to make his fortune and loses it all to hustlers scam." Suddenly two other guys come up and drop 100. The same thing happens as before, the betters howling in excitement, the man with the cups not nearly as disappointed as he should be. I turned and we begin to walk away. Just then Ferguson grabs my shoulder and says in a very excited voice "we could make a fortune, we should go do it!”  I then proceeded to explain the situation to him, he was utterly shocked, he had been completely taken in. I laughed at him the rest of the day. Not sure what the gig was, if the guy was going drop the seed out by slight of hand or if they were going to try and rob us once our money was out, there was about 6 of them by the time we left. So yeah, just interesting experience. 

Love you guys. My life is way bitter sweet right now. I just about cry when I think about leaving Malaysia and all of the people here and not being a missionary anymore. On the other hand coming home will be nice. So mostly I try not to think about it very much.


Elder Halpin

The uppermost waterfall and pool.

The bay at sunset.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 15 2015 – Into the Final Stretch… - Week 7 in Sabah

This week went pretty well.

Just got my flight itinerary.....  I come home on 4/22/2015.

Dad, I got you a picture!!!

Transfers went smoothly. Elders Ferguson and Coloma are a funny companionship. I’m really impressed with Elder Ferguson. It’s strange because all of us in the house have served in the Matang area.

So we went out to Kampung Dambai to try and meet all of our potentials out there. Really, the only one that is going anywhere is Justiff’s family. We talked to them at the door and they wanted to meet again but they were just way busy. Hopefully this week we can meet them again.

We went out to Sepanggar again and met 2 really dope families. Hopefully we can meet them again this week and get them going.

One of them is Victorious and his family. They are from Indonesia, have two kids and are nominally catholic but not really active at all. We talked about what brings happiness in this life and what they want for their family. We talked a little about eternal families and some of the other blessings that we can receive from living the gospel, they were way interested and said we could come back later.

The other family was Brother Sibin and his family, but we mostly just talked with him. He started off by asking what we needed to do to be saved, so we talked about the gospel, the five steps, faith, repentance, baptism, the Holh Ghost, enduring to the end. We then tied it into the restoration, talking about how it’s important to be baptized by one with the proper authority. He was intrigued and said we could come back later also.

2 of our investigators came back this week! Cherilyn and Tan, They are dope. They are Chinese, from Johor Bahru in West Malaysia. They are students here at UMS, Cherilyn is studying Forestry and Tan Physics, both are way smart. They started learning in November and just came back from break (they’re so dope they learned from the missionaries in Johor Bahru on break). They are just about ready to be baptized, we feel like the missionaries before just didn't put enough emphasis on how important it is. We are meeting them on Tuesday, maybe we can put them on date.

Mothi is doing good. We weren’t able to meet him this week, but we talked to him at church a little bit and will meet him this week.

Yesterday was way nice. Church was honestly one of the best I have been to on my mission. In sacrament meeting Elder Ferguson gave a talk about charity. The talk was good but what hit me was the word for charity. I don’t know why I never thought about this until yesterday, I’ve been talking about charity for 2 years. So in Malay one of the translations for the word charity is kasih amal. Kasih means love. Amal means to apply. So basically charity is love applied. Charity is the pure love of Christ put simply. What did Christ do? He loved everyone perfectly and applied that in the atonement and in all of his actions. So how can we develop charity? By acting on our love for others. If we can do that then we will never fail, Moroni 7:46 says that charity never faileth. So yeah, pretty cool spiritual experience for me.

We also went to President Ling’s (the District President) house Sunday afternoon. He is pretty dope. We are trying to introduce the new Elders to everyone here so we took them, and the Kota Kinabalu 1 Elders took us there because even though they are in our branch they live in Kota Kinabalu 1 branch boundaries. So we were a convoy. Anyway there and back added up to about 40 kilometers (25ish miles)... Way tired. We disused how to overcome some problems that President Ling can see in the district in regards to missionary work.

Kota Kinabalu is way beautiful. It has been burning though this week. The day we went to Dambai and the day we went to Sepanggar there were fires in the hills around them, at night riding around it looked like some of the hills were volcanoes.

So, yeah, Elder Yang is trying with my hair.

Glad you guys had a great week. Sounds like I won’t be the only menace on the road when I get back, great job Adam!


Elder Halpin

Brother Peredick and I.

Elder Yang and I.

March 8, 2015 – Last Transfer… - Week 6 in Sabah

This week was rough. The first little bit was great but then I got sick...

Father I had every intention of taking said picture... Then I got sick. I don’t have my flight plans yet, I will forward them to you when I get them.

Monday President Mains and Elder Funk of the seventy flew into town. The Sandakan Elders came to stay at our house and we went to the beach and threw a football around. Way nice.

Tuesday was the mission tour. Elder Funk is going around to all the zones in the mission giving training's and such. It was pretty good. The whole time though I felt just way warm and feverish. Went home and rested. Took my temperature later, it was 102.5.... ugh. So I took some Panodal and slept. The next day I felt just awful, coughing, headache and my sinuses were screwed up.

Anyway at this point I am healed except that my ears are plugged up, I’m half deaf.... It’s way annoying.

Some good news though! Mothi's parents ok’d him for baptism! He said that "it’s not the time" when we talked with him on Sunday. So not really sure, he doesn’t feel ready though, so we will see.

On Thursday the Chuas invited us over for dinner so we went. Way good. Friday we went to Brother Sokupit’s home and cut their entire family’s hair. Saturday I was ready to go but then Elder Jackson fell sick and they (the zone leaders) had appointments so Elder Yang went with Elder Fowler to those appointments and I stayed back and slept....

So yeah, this week will be interesting. Waiting for transfer news. If I transfer I will not be happy.

As we waiting to hear from Matthew on his transfer news…

Mom: The beach looks the water really warm like it was in Haiti?  So you went and cut hair?  When did you learn to do that?

Elder Halpin: The water actually felt more like Hawaii, which is weird because the last time we went it was like Haiti... I didn’t cut hair, I assisted Elder Yang in cutting hair, which is to say I played with the children and talked to people while he cut peoples hair.

Elder Halpin: Ok, so I’m staying here in Kota Kinabalu with Elder Yang. Both zone leaders are leaving and Elders Ferguson and Coloma, my sons, are coming to replace them.


Elder Halpin

going from the church to lunch after mission tour. there are three more elders in the car you cant see.

The beach.

Going from the church to lunch after mission tour. 
There are three more elders in the car you cant see.

March 1, 2015 – Farewell Testimony… - Week 5 in Sabah

Apa Khabar? Nama gaga s'ari tu?

This week was hectic. We really weren’t able to get anything done.

So on Monday we had family home evening with the Chua family, it was way fun! They are really cool. Brother Chua was the old Branch President, Ching is leaving on a mission to temple square on the 27th of March, and Stenlee and Vivi are getting ready to turn in their mission papers.

On Tuesday we met with brother Sakarius. He is from Indonesia and was baptized about 2 years ago. He is way sick, has a way strong testimony. He has been in Indonesia for the last 4ish months and just got back. It took us a bit to find his house. We had to sneak through 3 holes in fences to get there.

Zone conference was pretty good. We watched Meet the Mormons as the pre zone conference activity. It was really good.

The actual zone conference training was alright.

My departing testimony I’m afraid was rather lackluster... You see, I had thought of a few things I wanted to talk about but I got way nervous, overly nervous. On top of that it wasn’t until I was sitting on the stand that it hit me that my mission was almost done. So then I was just way teared up. Anyway I managed to say couple things and then I just had to close it and sit down.

The after training was way good. Elder Bagley, one of the senior couples in West Malaysia, provided training. He restores and flies World War 2 warbirds. He talked about an experience he had several years back when his plane burst into flames a little after takeoff. He related it to our missions and lives after our missions. Really cool.

Anyway, the rest of the week all of our plans fell through and we weren’t able to do anything. This coming week should be way good though!!!! We did run into a college student who is a member from Kuching though! Way cool. Hopefully we can meet with him and bring him to church again.


Elder Halpin

The flatts we are knocking, 
unfortunately as you can see, 
they are the property of the true Jesus church...

A bay with the sun and water Kampung.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

February 22, 2015 – Opportunities… - Week 4 in Sabah

So, nine weeks left...... feels way weird.

This week was way good.

First off, when I said the branch has no spirit I meant that it’s just dead feeling. The last few sets of missionaries here have just been robots and they didn’t really connect with the members at all. So we are trying to infuse life, and its working! For the first time since I got here we’ve had members asking us to come over to their houses, others have given us referrals and offered to come teach with us!

Mom, about your contacting opportunity. Just go for it, testify. The worst that can happen is he will say no. When we act in faith God will help us. There is a book that is very popular in the mission here that I will probably get when I get back. It’s called the Power of Everyday Missionaries by Clayton Christianson. Way good, I would suggest it.

We were able to meet with a couple less active family's this week, both of which came to church on Sunday!:)

Our investigators are doing well. The hardest thing to get is the 2nd lesson, once they've had 2 then they will probably see it through to the end whether or not they get baptized. Currently we have a lot of people that have had one lesson, so we are really working on follow up.

One family is way dope. We contacted them that first day we went to Kampung Dambai. The mother, Raffina, is Dusun and the father, Gabriel, is Indonesian. They have 4 kids, the youngest which is 16. Anyway, they are Seventh Day Adventist (SDA). The first time we met they were pretty closed off. Raffina said that they were actively SDA since the beginning and wouldn’t change but that they would listen. The 2nd time we met, last night, they opened up a lot. Apparently they haven’t gone to church in long while because of a few things. They all have a thirst for knowledge, and have started to pray. Just way dope, I’m pretty sure they will be baptized.

We also discovered goldmine #2. Just north of our apartment complex we found 4 sets of flats. They appear to be about 50% Christian, for Sabah way good! On top of that Elders have never been here before, it’s untouched. We have gone out and knocked 4 of the blocks in one complex. We have a list of people that gave us their numbers or said to come back later. We taught 2 individuals and one family. All way promising. We only have infinite more doors to knock.

Random fact, the plan of salvation is the way to go for Catholics.

Anyway, this week is Singapore week. On Wednesday we will be going in for zone conference. Getting back on Friday night. It’s my last. I will be giving my departing testimony. Just way trippy.

Staying strong till the end,

Elder Halpin

 English class at the Kampung.

February 15, 2015 – Bible Bashing, Just Useless… - Week 3 in Sabah

I got a new camera, it’s pretty nice. (It actually can zoom)!!!

That’s interesting, about Christian not being able to speak English properly... My English shouldn’t be too shabby, just that I can’t remember words anymore.

This week went pretty good.

The Indonesian family and the Nonois family were unable to meet this week, we will be meeting on Tuesday though.

We found a bunch more solid potentials. In Kampung Dambai (the kampung we found) we shared a lesson with a lady named Edeline. She said that if, in the future, she thinks it’s true she will be baptized, so pretty promising. She lives in a house with several of her kids and their families, so hopefully next time we can meet all of them!

We met this other guy named Frankie who was patching up his fighting chicken. He indicated that he’d be down to meet this week too. He has a wife and several kids.

We also met with a young couple (maybe like 16 and 18?) and a bunch of her siblings. They listened and said we could come back, we will see.

On Thursday, a former investigator named Martinus asked us to come help him build his neighbor’s house. Anyway we rode out to where they lived (Telipok, an hour and a half bike ride) and met him at the town square. We were wearing shorts and t-shirts expecting to build stuff. Anyway, he had randomly met up with this Jehovahs Witness from Australia named Dane. Anyway, we had a very civil bible bash if such a thing exists, and then went our ways.

I’ve now had twice as much bible bashing in Kota Kinabalu as the rest of my mission combined. It’s pretty useless. No, really useless. Either someone ends up humiliated (they’re not going to listen to you after that), or someone ends up way angry and defensive and won’t listen to you, or both sides walk away feeling like they "won". Just useless.

The members are pretty awesome here. The thing about this branch is that it has got no spirit now, so were really trying to infuse that into the branch.

Also this week everyone in Kota Kinabalu was sick. On Saturday I slept almost the whole day. Friday when we went out I’m pretty sure we were half delirious. Really wacky day.

Love you guys!


Elder Halpin

The famous floating Mosque of Kota Kinabalu

Me with some of the Harun Family children, Adrian his wife Alana, Laura and President Sebastian.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February 8, 2015 – Making New Friends… - Week 2 in Sabah

So first off the bad news. My camera is done. It was supposed to be waterproof, specifically down to 3 meters...  But a couple inches did it in. So yeah, my camera is kaput. I looked around a bit and the cheapest cameras I could find were 250 ringgit, so that’s like 70-80 dollars something such. If the budget is there it would be way nice. If not, it’s good though, I have been using my companion’s camera to take some pictures and can continue to do that.

Anyway, other than that this week has been great!!!

My bike arrived on Tuesday.

We went contacting in this Muslim water Kampung and found this one family. Brother Nonoi and his wife Sister Ratma and their 7 kids. He is pretty cool, he made a living most of his life as a guitarist and artist, travelling all over Borneo and even going to the Philippines, Singapore and West Malaysia. Now he teaches music at a school. Anyway, we came later and tried to teach a lesson but he mostly I think wanted to bible bash and convert us....  You could tell his wife and some of his older kids were actually interested in what we were saying but he was not open. We will try one more time this week, but if he will not listen to us then there is nothing we can do.

We have been contacting that Kampung and it is going really well. We found a Dusun longhouse. We decided to try a different approach than just going up and knocking on the door. We found it because, as we riding by, a bunch of kids were throwing soccer balls at me.... So we stopped and offered to teach them English. We’ve been over three times now, and a lot of their parents that didn’t look to happy to see us when we first came are now way chill with us, this week we want to start asking if they want to learn.

In the same Kampung we went and knocked on a bunch of doors, no luck. However, two kids were following us and said they would take us to their friends and relatives houses that were Christian. So we pumped them on our bikes and they helped us contact a bunch of people. One family in particular is way promising. It’s a way big family from Timor Flores in Indonesia. They are "Christian" but, except for one of the daughters who goes to a church, don’t really know anything. We will be going back again on Tuesday, hopefully it goes well.

We have several more potentials from the same Kampung, and some others from the Muslim water Kampung.

This week should be way good!


Elder Halpin

Pictures i took before my camera died...

The view from our apartment, 
Muslim Kampung, 
hills and just peaking over, Mount Kinabalu.

These kids thought i was Messi....

Water Kampung

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 1, 2015 – Getting to Know Kota Kinabalu… - Week 1 in Sabah

So Sabah is dope.

I flew in on Wednesday through Kuala Lumpur. Because my old suitcase was falling apart I picked up a 30 Sing (Sing: what missionaries call the Singaporean dollar) suitcase from a market in Singapore. I now know why it was only 30 sing. On the way to the airport the top handle exploded off. When I got it off the conveyor belt in Kota Kinabalu the entire wheel and extendable handle was gone, completely ripped off. That’s ok. The next time I use that suitcase will be when I am going home.

My bicycle hopefully comes today. It’s alright because Kota Kinabalu has a dope bus system. You can pretty much get anywhere for 1 ringgit. A lot of driver’s customize their busses with large speakers and paint and stickers and the like. We have been trading off bussing and biking with the other Kota Kinabalu 2 Elders.

Anyway so I am in Kota Kinabalu 2. There are 2 branches in Kota Kinabalu. It has been open for a long time and there are a lot of really strong members. Sabah is different from Sarawak. There are a lot of foreign peoples here, a LOT of Filipinos and Indonesians. Some are Muslim some are Christian. Some are legal some are not. Altogether
Sabah is 90% Islam. There are also several tribes that are native to Sabah that are mostly Christian, the Kadazans/Dusuns, the Rungus and the Sungai are several of them. The Muslims that are native to Sabah are Melayu and also a tribe called Bajau.

Anyway Kota Kinabalu is on the ocean, it’s basically just BEAUTIFUL. There are Kampungs everywhere, some in the jungle others on lakes and rivers or on the ocean. Kota Kinabalu 2 is the northern half of Kota Kinabalu. We live in or rather on top of, the biggest shopping mall in Borneo. There are hills surrounding most of Kota Kinabalu, they are way pretty. If the day is clear you can see Mount Kinabalu poking over the hills from our apartment.

Church was way good. About 45 people came. It’s been way good to speak Malay again. They use a different slang and vocabulary here, so I’ve been learning that.

Elder Yang, my companion, is from San Francisco California. His family emigrated from Thailand when he was 2 ish. They are Hmong.  He is way dope, he cuts hair, worked in a high end barber shop before, cut a lot of famous people’s hair. He has been out a year, but his Malay is WAY good. He speaks basically 8 languages, English, Malay, Hmong, Bugis (a Muslim tribe here), Tatar (a tribe from Indonesia), Iban, Tagalog and Thai. So yeah, he’s a boss. I think it would be cool to speak a bunch of languages, maybe I will make a life goal.

The work here has historically been slow but were pretty confident we can get it going. Right now we have 2 investigators, Mothi and his sister Karen. They are Dusun. Mothi is 18 and Karen is 16. They would already be baptized but there parents won’t allow it right now. Hopefully when mothi gets his results from school in March his parents will allow him to be baptized.

We have been contacting and exploring and right now. In one massive water Kampung we found about 7 potential families we’ve talked to, 2 or 3 of which are way solid. We also discovered a HUGE Kampung in the jungle that, on first look Sunday night, appears to be almost all Christian! So hopefully we can go tomorrow or Wednesday and start contacting there. So yeah.

We have been able to meet with a lot of the key members and a few less active families. The branch president is President Sebastian. He is way cool. We have also met with his younger brother Adrian and his wife Alana.  Adrian came back from his mission in Utah when I was in Kuching. He came to visit a friend but met Alana and he proposed 1 week later. That’s the fastest I think I ever heard of people meeting and then getting engaged. We also met with the Chua family, way strong. Also a bunch of others.

Today was way good, mostly. So a member, David, his parents own this sort of resort/diving place something such.  I don’t know how to explain it. Anyway, there are lot of islands off of Kota Kinabalu and so we went and hung out on one of them, way dope. Anyway, there were these huge fishes in the water by the dive platform. I wanted to take a picture of them and I realized that my camera was waterproof and I had never tested it..... Anyway, it took the pictures just fine. Later though I pulled it out to take a picture and it wouldn’t turn on :0........ Aduh... So it’s now in a bowl of rice. I will pull it out and maybe try again tomorrow, but it might be the end....

But yeah, other than that everything’s been good.


Elder Halpin

P.S. The computer is being janky and won’t let me upload pictures....

Sunday, February 1, 2015

January 25, 2015 – I Let Go and Let God… - Week 6 in Singapore

So this week was good.

We are currently waiting for transfer news.

Dad:  You mentioned your have a smartphone in Singapore – how come you have one of those?

Elder Halpin: We have smart phones in Singapore for a couple reasons. 1. Because everyone uses Whatsapp, they don’t text. 2. It’s way nice to have the gospel library app also. 3. You cannot get brick phones here.

Our investigators are doing well.

But, Trishalyn dropped us....

None of them were able to come to church this week, but they have been praying and reading. We are meeting with Celynne later today at 3. Should be good. She is progressing well, if things go well then maybe we can put her on date later. We are currently trying to help her gain a testimony of Jesus Christ. She is basically agnostic right now.

Doris is coming along as well. She is starting to actually pray and read, and is praying to know if god exists.

Dad:  Pretty awesome getting investigators walking from the intersection…  Was this your idea or your companions?

Elder Halpin: Contacting people at intersections was a combined effort idea.

On Friday I went on splits with Elder Egbert in his area. In the afternoon we went to a food bank and unloaded a bunch of vegetables from a truck and also chopped up a ton of hotdogs. I went into their giant freezer. It was cold....

On Wednesday we went to the YWCA and helped sort and organize stuff to give to poor people.

So yeah. Still waiting on transfer news....

Also if I didn't say last week, Kenneth, from Sibu Jaya, got baptized!

Yesterday we picked up Presly, a member from Johor Bahru, from the border and took him to the chapel so he could become Elder Ngerantar. He left for his mission in Toronto this morning.

Transfers have come in - So, I’m gone. I’m going to Sabah (the northern state in East Malaysia).  To the City of Kota Kinabalu, the promised land!!!! I’ll be in the 2nd branch with Elder Yang. We are whitewashing again. It’s a biking area, so my bike will be shipped form Sibu Jaya. Should be way dope. Sabah has Malay that is clear, fast and grammatically proper. Hopefully I will finish my mission there. This is the area that Elder Blackwelder started in and he storied me with how cool it was. I’m way syked!

I didn’t think I would ever say this but I will miss Singapore. When I arrived I was pretty frustrated, but after a week and a half of fighting myself, I let go and let God make what he wanted me to be. I’ve learned and grown so much spiritually in the last 6 weeks! Elder Wright and I have taken the area from nothing to 3 progressing investigators in 6 weeks notwithstanding extreme limitations on how we could work.

I know why God sent me to woodlands.


Elder Halpin


When we walk around we find random stuff. 
This is a hat left at a bus stop.

Ginormous woks at the helping hands place.

Monday, January 26, 2015

January 18, 2015 – Following the crowd… - Week 5 in Singapore

So this week went very well.

Mom: Did you send my letter?

Elder Halpin: I sent the letter 2 weeks ago, I hope it’s not lost....

Note: The letter arrive this week.

First off I want to say that at least one reason I was sent to Singapore was to learn and grow spiritually. Over the last few weeks I have learned a lot about the gospel and what it means to truly live it. Also about obedience, what it means and why it’s important.

Mom you were talking about Stake Conference and obedience. It’s really a pain. Just this past week President Mains made a new rule that only 1 set of missionaries can go to any one appointment. In a 3 companionship area I don’t know how this is going to work. We have been having a hard time getting into member’s homes anyway. Now if a certain member likes to have the missionaries over once every 2 weeks either we will only meet them once a transfer (6 weeks) or never because they will pick the set of missionaries they like the best.... ugh....

With that in mind I began to contemplate because we have the hardest time effectively using our time. I was looking at what we couldn’t do - go to malls, use the train and bus and knock doors. Also it is very difficult to effectively work with less actives and members here because they are all so busy. Anyway, I realized that I was looking at it all wrong. I was looking at what wasn’t working, not what was. I realized that most of our success in getting potential investigators happened when we were walking to and from the MRT stops in the same direction as people but that once we left the general vicinity people dispersed and it became ineffective. Also if we just stood in one place trying to talk to everyone, everyone avoided us. We therefore decided to just go back and forth and around. Pretty sneaky like. Walk up to the corner where people are waiting for the light, start a conversation with anyone who is willing and then just kind of walk in the same direction as them to keep the conversation going. Before they arrive at their flat get their number. Turn around, walk back to the intersection, by then it’s all new people. Repeat process.

We have been able to meet with a several people. We have 3 investigators now.

Sylvia is doing well. We met her again on what day? I forgot... Anyway we went to the Cortez family’s home and had a lesson/discussion on the plan of salvation. The Cortez’s are from the Philippines, they are way sick! Anyway, she has started to read and to pray. She would have come to church but one of her friends passed away suddenly in Kuala Lumpur and she went back for the funeral. Should be meeting again in the next couple days.

Doris is from China and has been in Singapore for about 2 months. She is pretty cool. She is a "freethinker." She said though that her Grandmother in China is Christian, and that actually a lot of people are starting to accept Christianity there. We talked about the restoration and she has started praying and reading. On Sunday she came to church for all 3 hours. We are meeting her again on Tuesday.

Celynne is the last one. She is from the Philippines and has been in Singapore for several years. She used to be Catholic but is now agnostic. We met and she asked what was the difference between her church and ours. So we began teaching the restoration but she asked why everything existed, why God would create everything. So we quickly changed tracks and began sharing the plan of salvation. She really is a deep thinker, asked a lot of questions, kind of looking for cracks. She has more questions and we are meeting again this afternoon at 2. It’s kind of interesting this is the 2nd time on my mission when a Catholic has asked what the difference is between our churches and the restoration has not worked and the plan of salvation has answered perfectly.

So yeah, things are picking up. We have several more promising potentials.

Also, Adam is your knee broken?


Elder Halpin

One of very many very tall buildings in downtown Singapore, 
we went there last p-day.

A shipyard at night near one of the places the Japanese invaded.

A river.

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 11, 2015 – Pride… - Week 4 in Singapore

Right now I am liking Ecclesiastes 7:8. Really applies to my situation right now. Sort of learning to be patient more.

Something that I have learned on my mission is what pride actually is. It’s not only the whole chin stuck up thing. It’s also about how you listen to and follow your leaders. About how you regard disobedience. Before I went on my mission I thought I was not very prideful at all.  I have, over the course of my mission, realized that I am very prideful, and that I have a long way to go before I will truly be humble.

This week was good.

Katherine: How were you this week?  I miss you.  I started learning piano.  I learned the first twinkle and the first part of Honeybee.  I am enjoying it.  What did you eat today?  I hope you have a good week Matthew.  Bye!

Elder Halpin: That’s way cool Katherine! This morning I had an orange and 2 roti canais.

David: Dear Matthew, Jessica was great.  Maybe next year they will come again.  We are having a good time.  We killed some chickens and Bright and Gladys made Peanut Chicken and Curry Chicken.  I ate a chicken foot.  It was tasty.  The kitchen is going not so well.

Elder Halpin: That’s cool David. One time I bought a chicken that was pre wrapped in a newspaper and then hung it on my handlebars and took it to a member’s house. Way funny. I’m riding my bike and there is this chicken sitting there swinging under my handlebars.


So I don’t remember exactly what I said last week so I’ll recap. To get to our apartment we can either take the bus right to the front door from Yishun station or we can go to Admiralty station and walk 10-15 minutes. Last Sunday night we planned to go the Yishun route but we got distracted and missed the stop. So we walked and as we were walking we were waiting for a light and we started talking to this lady standing next to us.

Her name was Sylvia. She is Chinese, 22, from Malaysia and working as a lab tech. She told us that she doesn’t normally walk that way but she felt like she should that night. The next day we were able to meet. Not only did we think it was a miracle but she did to, way sick! Anyway she is "Buddhist" but not really. She was pretty interested in hearing what we had to say. She had lot of questions about things, including about Christianity in general. Way good lesson, we were able to share the restoration, she said she would pray and read.

We are meeting her again tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes.

The Chinese Brother has not been able to meet.

We went to the Selvan family again on Saturday. They are great. We will be meeting with their oldest son this week, CJ. He is way cool, going to school. He also knows sign language and translates for a deaf lady in our ward. We will be talking about a mission with him. In Singapore it’s way hard to go because of national service. All men have to serve a 2 year term in either the army, security force (police) or the Bomba, which is like ambulance, fire etc. Anyway, they have to do that before they can go on a mission, so it basically all adds up to waiting 4 years away from studies. Even still most of the active YSA in the ward have or are going to go on missions, pretty cool.

We will be meeting with the Cortez family this week, hopefully also with Sylvia. They are a way cool young Filipino couple. They both served missions in the Philippines.

Also, we met a Muslim lady from Indonesia on Saturday last and were able to meet her this Saturday. Her name was Euly. She wasn’t super interested, mostly just curious. She turned out to not speak English as well as we thought so I ended up teaching the lesson in Bahasa. It went alright, she accepted and said would she try reading a Kitab Mormon. We will see if it goes anywhere. It was one of the strangest lessons so far on my mission. So I could say Allah, instead of Tuhan, I was teaching a Muslim, she understood all of the deep vocabulary, the only word I had to explain was priesthood. Just way different.

So yeah it’s going good, we are just cranking through heaps of potential investigators.

Miss you guys a lot.


Elder Halpin

I decided to count my change. I have a lot.

Looking out the living room window, the MRT, flats and a bus stop.