Sunday, January 11, 2015

December 21, 2014 – Rough Week… - Week 1 in Singapore

 So this week was rough, really rough! Probably hardest on my mission with the exception of when Elder Wiberg was hit by the car.

So I am about half way done with my letter to you Mom, things got hectic and I forgot to write it. I will finish it and send it tomorrow, sorry it will be late. I will add my thoughts on the Savior in there.

I miss you guys a lot.

Just about the only good thing that happened this week was that I was able to pick up my package. Thanks you guys, a lot. The cards are really nice. The cookies are delicious. The new white shirts are very white. I put up the Christmas tree over my desk on the wall, it’s very nice.

I’m way jealous of you guys.

So on Monday we got news that I was being transferred to Singapore. To the woodlands ward. I am in a tri-companionship with Elders Lee and Wright. They are both pretty cool. Elder Lee is leaving on the 29th for his mission in Toronto Canada. He’s just visa waiting (that’s why a tri-companionship). He’s from Melaka in West Malaysia. Elder Wright is one of my "grandsons" (he is Elder Ferguson’s son). He is from New Jersey.

The flight over was just kind of awful. The dumb plane out of Sibu didn’t leave until 35 minutes late. Once it got to Kuala Lumpur it had to circle for another 10 minutes waiting for weather. Once it finally landed I had about 5-7 minutes to get to the proper terminal. So I booked through the airport at a sprint. Made it, just barely, had to yell to get them to hold the door. Anyway, I get to Singapore, and of course, my checked bag didn’t make it..... So I go report my lost bag. I don’t know my number (or anyone’s number for that matter) in Singapore, so they give me their number and tell me to call later. I tried to call 20 times at intervals later that night. No answer. The next morning did the same thing, same result. Finally I gave up and went and picked it up in person. As nice as the Singapore airport is, the lost baggage hotline is absolutely rubbish.

Our area is in the northern half of the island, if you look up "woodlands" on google maps, that’s our area. It’s a ward, not a branch, in a stake not a district.

We are whitewashing the area, none of us three have been in the area before. We have no work. The Elders before had nothing going, and from what it looks like they kind of just went belly up and died/gave up. The area is split between 3 sets of missionaries, the other two companionships have some work, but not much.

We live in a condo on the eighth floor. We live with 2 Elders from the 4th ward (Elders Zimmerman and Egbert), which is one of 2 expat wards. So it’s 5 people in a four person house. Maksudnya, I sleep on a "taco" as they are called, a 2 inch thick foam seat/mat thing. It’s about 4 1/2 feet long, so my feet stick out from the knees onward. My "office" or "desk" is the corner of the living room. Honestly though I don’t mind it, in fact, I often prefer to sit on the ground over a chair. Other than that, the apartment is nice, we have three bathrooms, however only 1 has a hose (limiting usability, TP is absolute rubbish, I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get back...). It’s alright though, we don’t have to filter the water here. We also have a dryer, but dryers are rubbish, viva la drying racks!

We ride the MRT/bus just about half the day, the other half is spent walking around endless malls or walking about trying to figure out where members live in the endless mass of condominiums and flats.

We’ve managed to meet a few members, Elder Woo and his family. He is a 70. Bishop Loh, the Selvan family, the Leong family, the Chong family. Tonight we are going to family home evening with the Solomon’s – it should be good. The ward is pretty evenly split between Chinese, Pilipino and Indians. Pretty cool, they all seem way dope.

My "area adjustment" has not come in yet (8 days now)....(honestly the church reimbursement/support system has gotten progressively worse over my mission, not better) My ringgits that I converted were used up in about 2 days, so I have been using my Christmas money to survive....

A member invited us to use their computers to skype. Send me your names. I will email you my name right before so we can find each other. It will be at about 9 o’clock in the morning on the 26th (my time) you guys do the converting so that I don’t screw it up.

Another thing is that our house is split down the middle on missionary work philosophies. It hasn’t really yet, but I know it’s going to cause clashes down the road.

So yeah. Just really struggling to figure out why I was sent here. Struggling with not speaking Malay/Iban, I really miss it. Struggling with my housemates/companions a bit. Struggling with the area, how to get it going. It’s likely to be the last area in my mission, maybe not though. Struggling with my general loathing of Singapore. Not anything against it personally, just that it’s the epitome of a large city, I hate large cities. Everywhere you look is a billion people, cars and busses and advertisements.

I know that if I can just focus on the people, the members, and the less actives and forget everything else I’ll be fine. I’m just having a really hard time doing it.

I guess really that’s just the gist of it.

If you have any inspirational thoughts or advice now is the time for it.


Elder Halpin

P.S. I think this is the most depressing email I have ever written.

A somewhat depressive picture waiting at an MRT station.

My office/desk.

All three of us.

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