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.

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