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