Thursday, December 23, 2010

day before christmas

hey dad. thanks for the email. sorry about your teaching experience. anyways, i dont have much time. pday went crazy this week. but i can explain everything you want when we talk on christmas. my phone number is xxx-xx-xxx-xxx-xxxx and i have asked mom to call me on christmas anywhere from 3-5pm your time christmas day, so she wont be at work and i can talk to her as well. hopefully this works for you. anyways, talk to you whenever you call.

love, zac

hey mom

no problem about the pics. i understand it's pretty tough to remember things like that. i've printed out some pics, and hopefully i'll be sending them to you via snail mail so you have something to look at. i tried to describe them a little bit in pen on the back, but it got all smeary and ugly. shame. hope you enjoy it anyway.

but as it comes to christmas, it would not be christmas without talking to both of my parents. so i imagine you dont work on christmas, but if you do, please take it off. i'll have time for you to call anywhere from 3-5 pm your time christmas day, which will be around 7-9am 26 dec my time. right before i go to church, so that would be great. i hope this works out.

anyways, a bidayuh is a tribe here in malaysia. the kids are naughty in that they just run around and get everywhere. i guess one thing i have to explain is that malaysians use the word "nakal" (which loosely translates to naughty) in reference to all kids. i've just gotten so used to calling kids nakal it just carries over into english. anyways, i dont have any time really today, so you can just write down any questions you want to ask me for when we talk on christmas day. (remember to call me anytime from 3-5pm your time on christmas). love you lots mom. talk to you later.
love, zac

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"brightly beams our father's mercy"

hey dad.

how's it going? well things are going just fine here in kuching. happy as a clam and all kinds of excited that you guys are helping the missionaries. keep up the good work. it reminds me of the hymn "brightly beams our father's mercy" now i dont mean to be like cheesily spiritual or falsely pious or anything, but this is a song that i have come to love on my mission. "unto us is given the keeping of the lights along the shore. let the lower lights be burning... some poor fainting struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save." look at the good your example is doing in the lives of others. awesome. thanks for being a good example to me in my life and helping me to get where i am.

anyways, i was emailing jake just barely and i told him a story from my mission. no i love hearing mission stories and also sharing my own. i probably already told you guys this one. it's one of my favorites. but i think i'll recount to you the way i shared it with jake. who knows, maybe it can help you guys too.

"all i know is this: anyone whoe reads, prays and goes to church faithfully will get a testimony and will join the church. so let me tell you a story. a real life tale in the life of elder hill. bcak in the days.

so i was chillin in sibu jaya, we were teaching this lesson in a house with the door open. all of the sudden, this crazy indonesian lady walks by and comes in and just starts talking to us about church and how she thinks our church has some false doctrine. we got her number, and sent her on her way after like 30 min of crazy conversation which completely ruined the lesson we were in the middle of before she walked in.

so like the next week we went to see the lady, but she was just as crazy as before. she would read the book of mormon and pray, but we couldnt overcome any of her concerns by talking. she kept saying "but there aren't any prophets anymore. no one can see god.. etc" but we kept testifying that we knew joseph smith's story was true. after a few weeks of nothing, we stopped visiting this lady. it seemed hopeless.

but a few weeks after that, she showed up at church! we were like "what the heck!" and she kept coming every week after that. but she would bring her religious debates into our church. "but no one can see God, there are no prophets anymore... blah blah blha" it seemed like a pretty big trial at the time. anyways, after a few weeks of coming to church, she seemed to be making progress. we brought up baptism, and she accepted. and then she told her other christian friends and they tore her budding testimony to pieces. but she kept coming to church. one month after that, i got a new companion. we kept going and testifying. she kept reading praying and going to church. shortly thereafter, she realized she believed what we had been teaching. and although she didnt understand everything, she decided she wanted to get baptized.

a few months later, i was on splits with a 16 year old kid from the little branch i was in. we showed up at her house to ask her to help us with an appointment, and there was a pastor from another church sitting there telling lies about the church. so we sent the pastor off (no one in malaysia will mess with a white man face to face) and took her to a lesson. anyways, i got transferred and all that. i've been here for 4 months now. but i just got a letter from that indonesian lady. she told me she was really thankful for all that i had helped her with, including telling that pastor to go away. but the best part of the letter was a line that was to this effect: "the more i learn about the church of jesus christ of latter day saints, the more i love it." so please don't give up. keep doing those three things sincerely and regularly, and you will feel the same way."

live is good, and i am loving it here. so i am anticipating talking to you guys next week on the phone. it's christmas time already. time goes fast. anyways, like i told mom, if you guys could call 5-6pm christmas eve for you, it would be the easiest for me at around 9-10am christmas morning. i hope my jumbly english isnt too confusing. anyways, i love you dad. thanks for all your help. talk to you next week.
love, zac

hey mom! you guys are the best! the only unfortuante part of that awesome package, is that i am a candy fiend. it was all i could do to not gorge myself on the candy. i think it lasted me a week. but it was a delicious candy filled week. best week of my mission! naw i'm kiding. but it definitely was up there. although it was unfortunately coupled with my eating some intensely spicy fried noodles with curry that kind of messed up my insides. i've never experienced something so crazy and terrible after a delicious plate of fried noodles. but i'm over it now.

man i'm getting so excited over you and your missionary work mom. keep it up! thanks for the updates. but you mean the missionaries even didnt do a good job of explaining a patriarchal blessing? shame! just kidding. i've definitely run into those situations before. but i dont think it was just chance that that very night bro laton happened to speak on patriarchal blessing, or that the missionary brought it up. God is always preparing his people, and he works in mysterious ways. it is really cool to be able to see his hand in our lives tho. if there's anything i can help you with in your missionary efforts, please let me know. missionary work gets me all kinds of excited. tell desiree that she's awesome for meeting with the missionaries and coming back to church.

but i am sitting here to myself wondering, where are those "cute pics" you took? really, any pics you have i'd love to see. i apologize i havent been sending pics, but it's because of the computers here in my area. i'll have to manually print pictures out and snail mail them to you.

lets see tho, this week not much went on besides a bunch of meetings. we had a missionary training meeting and distirct conference. all was good, and there were good talks, but it took a lot of time out of our missionary work, so not many experiences to relate. we did meet with this man named binong. he's pretty good. he's bidayuh married to a chinese iban. they have twin sons who are naughty as all get out. we found them on the way to a potential investigators house. he was standing in his front yard staring at us. we both had the feeling to talk to him. he imidiately invited us in. we've been working with him for a few weeks. he has yet to come to church because he works, but the good thing is that we have been working with him and the book of mormon. so now, he himself said he believes that the book of mormon is true because he is really happy when he reads it and always wants to read it. he also said he wants to come to church. there are definitely some things he doesnt yet have a testimony of, so we are still working on him. we're hoping he can get work off this sunday. we tried to invite him to the baptism of some other elders in the zone, but for reasons unknown, he just kept telling us he wasnt ready.. very strange. maybe it was because we invited him like 2 hours before the baptism. i guess that was our bad. but he's looking pretty good as an investigator so far. we also have a dude named gregory who is the son of a member who should be getting baptized at the end of the month. so things are going well.

speaking of christmas, yeah my mission president said that the parents have to call. i guess it's a world wide policy. but if you guys could call me around 5-6pm your time on christmas eve, that should be around 9-10 christmas morning for me. that would be great.

but yeah, that's all i got this week. please keep me informed on the things you have going on in your life, and please keep sending pics. but i'll talk to you guys next week.

love, zac

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

marshmallow heads

hey dad
thanks so much for sending that byu thing to me. you guys are the best! by the way, i apologize i didnt explain about the contents of the package. the two things of fabric are for mom and the carvings are for you, like you had assessed (but i had intended the prayer rug for myself..) i'm sorry the shield broke. malaysian pst takes special care with items, as you can tell. but unfortunately no insurance. i guess that'll be that.

anyways, there are a few more things i ask your help with.

please visit the site below and order my official transcript so it can be sent to byu. you have access to my account, so please use my funds for the required fees.

also, i was wondering if you could visit the byu application website you sent me to just check the info i've written so far. i wont complete it this week, hopefully next week. but i would ask you to check it over and please correct any errors you find.

[sensitive info deleted]

anyways, i apologize i dont have much time. the work has been pretty slow this week anyway, so i'll give you guys an update next week when time permits. thank you so much for your help dad. i am helpless without you guys. if all else fails, we can talk on christmas. in regards to that, i will call on your christmas eve around the afternoon if that works with you guys. please let me know the phone number you would like me to call.

also, i got the package you guys sent me. such an awesome package! you guys are the best. those pickle head marshmallows. you guys really know what i like. i'm sorry for the trouble of sending me a package, but i really do appreciate it so much. thanks. talk to you next week dad. i love you.

love, zac

Hey mom. you are the best!! thanks so much for that package. it was so awesome. the marshmallow heads. where in the world did you find those? my package got opened up in the air port from singapore to kuching and the people were trying to figure out was those marshmallows were. nothing happened, they just wanted to check nothing dangerous was inside.

pretty crummy about the package i sent. but i told dad what to do with the things. i guess you guys can really do whatever you want with it.

that's pretty cool that desiree went to church. i know that as she stays active and coming to church functions, she will learn to really enjoy it (even if there are lots of criers at testimony meeting. i didnt learn to appreciate it til i was on my mission) is she in our ward boundaries? that's cool you guys are meeting with her at your house. it's awesome to have missionaries over. i cant wait to help them out when i get back. anyways, not much happened, and i dont have much time. i apologize this is so short, but there'll be more next week. love you so much mom! keep being awesome!

love, zac

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I think all the building would fall down!

hey dad. yeah, when it comes to earth quakes, malaysia gets nothing. i had no idea about any earth quakes. lucky thing for malaysia there aren't any earthquakes, because i think all the building would fall down. it would be quite a scene. gotta feel sorry for indonesia. they have lots of things like malaysia, just poorer quality. except their music is way better, from what i hear as i randomly walk past people blaring their music. almost no one listens to malaysian music here.

but things are going really well. unfortuantely, we just had a good string of baptisms, and now we may not have one for a bit. we've been working on getting some solid investigators, but people just insist on being shaky. i've never had a point in my mission where so many people have gotten anti'd and just avoided me, but you know, you just gotta keep working. lots of people have been hiding from us and not letting us talk to them, but i take it as a sign that satan knows he has to stop these people from hearing us in order to stop them from getting converted. i don't ever leave a place without telling the people i know this message and church are true. i don't ever want to leave them doubting whether i believe this will all my heart, so hopefully in the future those people that just won't listen will have open hearts. we've been doing lots of contacting lately, since the area where we live has almsot no members (which means almost no referrals) you pick up the shadiest people when knocking. it's alsways interesting. i wrote mom about some of my investigators, so hopefully you can read that email to get an update on some of the people. hopefully at the end of december or most likely in january these people can get baptized.

so school's almost halfway over for you, eh? can you believe how fast time goes by? i got my release date, and i guess it is 27 july, 2011. so i guess i still have a good while left. seeing as time is going by fast, i was wondering if you could go on the byu website for me and maybe do some research so i can transfer to byu? if you could, email me the forms so i can print them out and fill them out at my house? i only have 1 hour email, so if i went to figure things out on my own i probably wouldn't have any time to email you guys. but it may come to that soon. the transfer stuff is due in like 2 months i hear, so i dont have much time left. anyways, if you could do that for me i would greatly appreciate it.

next week we have a big conference here in kuching, so that should be fun. all the missionaries in sarawak will come. i'm pretty excited. but that's all i have for this week. i love you dad. thanks for the emails and support. hope you are doing well. take care, and i'll talk to you next week.

love, zac

hey mom
yeah we had some baptisms last week. the cyber cafe that i go to has disabled the function to access files from my camera on the computers, so you guys won't be receiving any pictures until i get transferred. unless i decide to go print some out and snail mail them to you. we'll see. anyways, it was ing's family. they are really awesome and were excited. we had a good turnout from the ward. it was a pretty stressful baptism because we had lots of baptisms in the ward and finding baptismal clothing was a nightmare. there's something interesting about malaysia. if the missionaries don't do it, it won't get done. we don't have any new baptisms for a while. we're still trying to work with the potential investigators we have so they will come to church. last week, we didnt have anyone new come, which was disappointing, but hopefully this upcoming sunday will be good.

let's see, when it comes to investigators, we have a few people that i'll talk about. i think i mentioned a man named nepi and his family. he lives with his wife, and his sister and brother in law. they are catholic, but seem pretty good when we teach them. open and receptive. they didnt come to church because they were sick, but they seem to really want to try coming to church.

we also have this lady named mary that randomly came into a church party we had, and we started teaching her. i gave her our phone number, and for the 2nd or 3rd time, i've had someone call me on a contact. that never happens. but she did. so we got her to come to church, but as we teach, she somehow brings everything back to work. her life is just work and she doesn't seem to know how to talk about anything else. she just lives by herself and works like 12 hour days. we're really glad she's listening to us about the gospel, because we know it will help her. but it's pretty tough, because we'll be like "so how would you feel if God appeared to you right now?" then she'll pause and be like "well, my supervisor ... etc." pretty strange. we're hoping to use a really nice lady member who can help her feel welcome.

then we have this guy named binong. we were on our way to a potential investigators house, but they weren't home. so we looked around and saw this guy staring at us in his yard next door. he was just asking for us to come talk to him. so we did and he seemed nice. he actually seems to be really prepared. after 2 lessons he really seems to understand what we teach, but unfortunately works on sunday. work on sunday is a nightmare, because bosses are more like slave owners. they can make people work whenever just because they feel like it, and if people refuse to work on sunday, they could get fired. horrible situation. so we're hoping he can get sundays off. plus, he's a pretty funny guy and likes having us over.

also, there's a lady named bungit and her husband, carpenter. they're pretty awesome. the husband is huge! and he shakes hands like a man. they fed us some dilicious pineapple which i was holding when he came to shake my hand and he shook so hard the pineapple flew out of my hand! how embarassing. we had a really good lesson with them i think on monday, and hopefully on saturday we'll be able to see them again and make sure they are coming to church. if things go well, we could have a really good sunday this week. we'll have to see how it goes. you never know what's going to happen.

that's kind of all the investigators worth talking about up to this point. all the others we've met only like once and there's not much to say. anyways, about the package, i haven't gotten it yet, but next week we are having a big meeting here in kuching, and the mission president and assistants will come here from singapore, so they should bring it to me. that should be good. thanks so much mom. you guys are the best. i'm glad you enjoyed the concert, but i'm sorry it's been so cold in las vegas. nice and toasty here. anyways, i think that's all i have for this week. love you, and hope you have a good week.
talk to you later.
love zac

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

letter home

hey mom.

this week has been going really well. last week, puras and her daughter marina were both baptized. it was pretty awesome. they both bore their testimonies and it was cool to see the change in them. we had a big turnout from the branch, and it was one of the best baptisms i've experienced on my mission. this saturday, sister ing and her two daughters will be baptized. they seem really excited. we just got them interviewed yesterday and they all said they couldn't wait to be baptized. they have come to church like 4 or 5 times in a row already, so very nice. after that though, things are looking a little shaky. we've been getting lots of new investigators and teaching them, but a lot haven't been turning out too well. we're trying to focus our work in the area around the church, but unfortunately there are hardly any members out here, and none of the other members really have transport so we are working almost without member help. we've been getting new people mostly by contacting, which i guess explains why there has been a significant drop off. we've found some good people that we're hoping to get to church this sunday. we're still just going to have to work hard and schedule everything well so as to see everyone efficiently. then we'll see who comes. the crazy part about the mission is you can work so hard, but people still have their own agency, so you have to sit back and see who will really be faithful or not. but we've had a lot of fun. i can't even really remember what happened this week, it went by so fast. we do have some families we're excited about, but they're all pretty new so not much to say about them.

but i can give an update on norina, that lady that was supposed to get baptized back in october but then stopped answering the phone out of no where and avoided us. well, one day i just felt like i should call her, and i actually got through. she was at kampung with her relatives in law, who are rc. i found out from this phone call that she had been receiving a lot of anti influence and that was causing her to avoid us. i tried to keep talking and she just hung up on me. at that point, i thought it was hopeless. but while we were over by her house last week, we decided to just drop in. we had a lesson with her and tried to remind her about the joseph smith story and how she prayed before. then we asked her to promise that we would be able to come back at least one more time to share with her. she agreed. then we went over to her house on monday. we had an awesome lesson with her. well at first we were kind of confused on how to go about it. we didnt expect a lesson with her, so we hadnt planned anything. she told us that she worked too much and had to work on sunday. so we at first tried to tackle that issue, thinking that that was the problem. we talked about how we need to have faith in God, and we shared the scripture in jacob about first seeking the kingdom of God, and then we shared in matthew about how the birds and flowers don't do anything, but God still takes care of them, but nothing seemed to take. her heart still seemed pretty closed. but then it came up that we were talking about her and her husband and just went over priesthood power that can bind on earth and how her husband is learning about what we are teaching her now. just this entire conversation we had with her seemed to open up her heart a lot, and she asked a ton of questions. she was really concerned that since her husband's family was rc, that if she didnt join rc she wouldnt see her husband again. but we explained the plan of salvation and you could just see the relief on her face. she seemed a lot more willing to talk about going to church after that as well. so we committed her to read, pray and also go to church. so there's still some good hope for her. no matter what happens, i know we were led by the spirit in that lesson, and we did the right thing. i'm so excited for this work, and have been having so much fun out here.

i tried to send some pictures, but there's some sort of lock on this computer that won't let me access my camera files, so hopefully another week. i apologize. i have been taking more pictures so you guys will have a lot to see, but malaysian pcs are unpredictable.

for thanksgiving, we are getting together as a zone and eating lots of food. the couple is going to cook for all of us. so we're pretty excited. in about 10 min i'll start heading over there actually. since today is pday, that's the day we're celebrating thanksgiving. i hope you guys have a great thanksgiving.

but speaking of desiree, i would be more than happy to take her on a date. like i said last week, it's all about those promised blessings. if you have the time, you can share with her jacob 2:18 or matthew 6:25-34 to help her know that when she trusts in God, He will provide and the blessings come after we show our faith. although it seems tough now, if she follows God, she will always be better off in the long run. i'm excited for you and your great member work mom. keep it up. keep doing what's right, and let me know how things go. when it comes to christmas, it will probably be me calling on your christmas eve, but i'll confirm that later. anyways, i gotta run, so talk to you next week. love you mom!

love, zac

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

we're trying to get some good solid new people

hey dad

well, they're just working you in the ward, huh? watch out. next thing you know is they'll call you as bishop! good that you're helping out the ward tho. how is the ward doing? our branch in kuching is doing well so far. we're just working on those baptisms. has our ward in las vegas had any baptisms lately? i wish i knew of some when i was there so i could go to them. baptisms are so much better when the members come to support. i've really seen the difference. back in sibu jaya, our first baptism had 3 members, and it was pretty sad. but the people getting baptized always feel tons better when they see lots of people supporting them.

i'm sorry i havent been sending as many pictures as nyss. i just never think to take pictures. also, i didnt bring my cord today, so you'll have to wait til next week to get some pics from me. i'll try really hard this week to find some cool ones, so i can send them to you. i do have a favor to ask of you tho.. if you could help me out. well, time has been going by really fast, and it's already time to start thinking about school again. unfortunately, i dont have much time on the internet. so i was wondering if you could look on the byu website and look up information for me so i can start working on a transfer from csn to byu. like forms and things i have to fill out. if you had time, that would be really awesome.

anyways, good luck with your double calling. i know you're up to it. it's good the ward is utilizing you more. what i wouldn't give for a melchizidek priesthood holder like you in my branch! also, good luck with your class. sometimes it just takes things being shaken up for kidds to really learn things. i definitely feel like that on my mission. i was really shaken up.

anyways, this week was pretty strange. lots of new families we're working with that we're still evaluating their interest level. all our solid people are getting baptized, so we're trying to get some good solid new people. we've been trying this for a few weeks, but most of our potentials as of yet have just been not to interested in the church. but we'll keep working. we know that next month will also be nice. weee christmas. our thanksgiving will probably be some sort of zone activity, but besides that, nothing. the senior couples will be out of town, which fact we will mourn for the next week.

anyways, thanks for the letter dad. i gotta run, but i'll have your pictures and more news next week.

love, zac

hey mom. don't worry about investigators falling off. i read a quote in brigham young's teachings and he said if we go to one city and they don't reaceive us, to just go to the next city and work there. so if one person doesn't want, we find someone who does. well, obviously we are still sad and try to help them overcome concerns, but we don't waste time on the sadness. we just keep working and finding as many people that want as possible. we had ruzh get baptized this last week. it was really good but the turn out from our branch was really small. he has an awesome testimony. and he just got interviewed for the priesthood and hopefully tomorrow we'll meet with one of his friends and get him on date for baptism. so things are looking up. we had three more that i was expecting last week, but we came to an unexpected problem, and 2 of them will happen this saturday. the other will hopefully happen sometime in the future.

but mom, i'm really proud of you for doing some good member work. bringing a less active back to church. i wish more people here would do that. just keep trying and i know you'll be successful. i also know that God will bless you. so much happiness comes from helping people come back to the church, and i'm sure desiree will be just as happy. just follow the spirit to help her come back. but you can always tell her if she keeps coming to church, i'll go on a date with her when i get back. it's all about promising blessings when you commit people to do something, you know what i mean?. anyways, don't feel bad that you fell asleep. it could happen to anyone. i definitely haven't been perfect out here on the mission. you can't beat yourself up. you just have to keep going forward, knowing you are doing a great work. i'm really excited to hear about your member work mom. keep it up!

anyways, i have had a pretty strange week. we did a lot of contacting and got lots of shaky investigators that we're trying to figure out what to do with. our really solid people are all getting baptized and we're left with the shaky ones. so while contacting, i was walking from one house to another, but was kind of looking at the ground. my comp was behind me, so he didnt see. anyways, i almost ran into this girl who was also looking at the ground while she was walking (that's what i get for not "walking with a purpose") anyways, it was really awkward for a bit, and i just went into contact mode and started talking to her about the church. she was christian but said she lived with mulsims, and next month "might" be invited to join islam. but she said she wanted to learn and invited us back. that was pretty weird. so we went back, and found out she's engaged to a mulsim guy! so we were just wondering if we could even teach this girl. we couldnt even have secret english communication between each other to regroup like we normally can, because she spoke english. so we decided to give her a pamphlet and asked her to give it to her parents to see if we could teach them. what a crazy experience. lots of people in that area invited us back. unfortunately, none of them know anything about christianity besides that you cant change churches if you've already joined one. which is a pretty big obstacle. and we've also been hit by some anti lately. lots of people quoting the bible as promising God will never send another prophet. somehow, everyone has heard that scripture, but doesn't know where it is.

but puras fam is doing well. they're the ones getting baptized this week. we also have ing's family who is doing so well. they really like church and have such good fellowship into the church. they are solid, so now we are working on the father (who still hides when we come. he does talk with us a few minutes not before he hides, so a little improvement) and also the son and his wife. we'll see how that goes. on top of that, lots of potential but still unsure how that will go. sifting through the people who just absolutely wont listen to us to find those who will. it's been fun.

yeah i had heard that dawn is pregnant. also, that's awesome jake's prospect of a better job is promising. and also, thanks so much for sending me a package mom. you are the best. my comp will appreciate it too. we've been having lots of fun together and hearing from you guys back home makes it all better. i hope you guys are doing well. take care of yourself mom. there's so much more i could say, but not a lot of time, so i gotta go. i love you and i'll talk to you next week.

love, zac

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

who knows what we are doing?

hey dad.

that's pretty cool you and mom are going to saint george. how
long will you be there? what all are you planning on doing while
you're there? it would be pretty cool to go to the saint george temple
while you're there. i tell you, i never really thought that i would
miss the temple, but i guess it takes you being put into a position
where you can't do something before you realize how big of a blessing
it is. someday there'll be a temple here in malaysia. i'd definitely
like to come back then. it's just crazy to see the growth in this
mission. seeing new branches created, new groups, working towards new
districts and a stake sometime in the future. this chruch really is

there are some new elders coming into the mission next week, which
means transfers, but i'm not going to be leaving. staying right here
in kuching, which is good. we're starting to have some good success,
so i would definitely like to stay here a while to keep that success
going. we've got some people coming up for baptism and quite a few
people who are potentials to get baptized. we just gotta work as hard
and effectively as we can and december will be a big month for us here
in kuching.

when it comes to thanksgiving, who knows what we are doing? not me.
maybe we'll have dinner with one of the couple missionaries. it's
close enough that i really dont know why i dont have a plan. but it's
all good. no one else in malaysia celebrates thanksgiving anyways.
christmas will be coming up soon as well. man time's going by so fast.
do you guys have anything cool going on for thanksgiving or christmas?

anyways, i'm sorry about the standardized french tests at your school.
i'm sure your students will all do well. good luck with those
students. tell them not to be naughty. but anyways, i should head out.
take care dad and i'll talk to you next week.

love zac

hey ma

well this week has been pretty interesting. i was in sibu again for
some more training. we went there on monday. it was pretty fun to be
able to see some of my friends from the mission. the bus ride is so
long tho. we left monday at 3:30 and didn't get into sibu until after
11. what a nightmare. but the training was good. we learned a lot
about helping the elders and sisters in our zone work together better
as a team and also about the importance of obedience. i love being in
trainings from president clark, our mission president. he's really
knowledgable and it's cool to just have discussions on church doctrine
with him. the training was only for one day, and then on tuesday we
got on the bus again. well, that was the plan at least. we went to the
bus terminal and the only bus avaible was one leaving at 12:30 am. the
bus didnt even sho up until 1am and we didnt get back to kuching until
8. that was a pretty crazy experience and i'm glad it's over. it's
nice to be back home. next month we'll have another training, but i
think it's in kuching, so it will be all good.

this week we should have 3 people getting baptized. an indonesian man
named ruzh, who is pretty awesome. he's really faithful in coming to
church even tho he works until 5am. pretty brutal work schedule. then
also a lady named puras and her daughter marina. i believe i've told
you about them. anyways, they all should be baptized this saturday, so
i'll let you know how it goes next week.

the family whose father won't listen is doing really well. the father
still hides when we go over. i don't know why. nothing we try seems to
work. but his family is really good. they should be baptized at the
end of the month- the mother and two of the daughters. there's a son
and daughter in law who live there that havent come to church yet, but
we're hoping to get them out this sunday, and then hopefully we can
get them baptized next month, but again we'll have to see.

last week we got tons of referrals, but unfortunately, none of them
came to church. i dont know if it was us dropping the ball, but we're
going to work hard for the rest of the week to make sure they come. if
we can get them to come, december should be a big month. and our area
will be doing really well. so i'm hoping and praying.

there's a family of 5 kids aged 9-17 and then their mother. only one
of the kids has been to church. she came as a referral with one of our
other investigators. the problem is that we havent yet seen the mom
for more than 5 minutes at a time. she seems really open and willing
to follow, but is hard to get ahold of and works a lot during the week
(we're actually not really sure on her schedule) but we're hopeful
that we'll be able to meet them tomorrow and get them all coming to

there have been a few tragedies. anuar has just been really busy
lately and has been having a real problem getting an answer to his
prayer, and also hasnt been to church in 2 weeks. things are looking
pretty shaky. we're going to go to his house and see if we can't let
the spirit resolve his concerns. also, norina has been avoiding us.
won't pick up calls and when we go to her house her family says she's
not there. so we're going to give it a little rest and see if we can't
go back later to meet with her again and rekindle her testimony. i
dont even know what happened. but malaysia is just like that
sometimes. you get those people who seem really good and then
something happens and they refuse to meet or even talk anymore, and
there's nothing more you can do. i'm hoping that's not the case with
norina. we'll keep trying.

but besides that, our week was good. we got almost all our people who
are on date for baptism to church, which is always a good thing. and
then we had an investigator bring another referral to church. pretty
good. the area is looking up, and we're hoping to help it keep
growing. i'm having tons of fun here and we are getting good work
done. we do make mistakes, which is evident in some of the thigns that
go wrong i guess, but we never give up and keep striving for

thanks for the pictures mom. they were awesome. jake is pretty silly.
i'm sorry i dont have any pictures for you this week, but i hope you
have fun in st george with dad. i gotta run, so i'll talk to you next
week. love you mom.

love, zac

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I hardly even noticed Halloween pass us by.

hey dad and mom

those pics are pretty cool. the boys in the ward are looking older
(and weirder, i must say. haha) anyways, thanks for sending the pics.
halloween here was just another day. although one of the branches in
our district had a halloween party, so some of the youth from our
branch went to it after the baptism we had on saturday. we hardly even
noticed it pass us by. hopefully thanksgiving isn't as uneventful, but
if it is, oh well.

this week has actually been really awesome for us. everywhere we go we
ask people for referrals. our mission president has really stressed
the fact that we be grateful to the people we meet with and that we be
cheerful, enthusiastic, and smile. now you knew me before the mission,
so you know that's kind of tough for me. but, i've really been trying,
and it has been awesome. i never felt like people responded poorly to
me before, but they are just responding so much better. people really
seem to be more excited to talk to us. and with this excitement, we've
been talking to them how to share the gospel with their friends and
why they should also be excited about giving referrals, and the
referrals have just been coming in. some of our investigators just
brought some friends to church and at church a long time member came
up to us and told us to come to his house the next day to meet some
people that work for him. it was pretty awesome, so now i'm even more
excited and just want to get out there and talk to these people.

even while we were contacting, we kept that cheerful attitude and just
had fun while we were out there. we really tried to get to know the
people. now, we had always tried to get to know people and be
friendly, but this time we tried harder than ever before to just feel
genuine love and grattitude for the people we met with. it really paid
off too. everyone we talked to that day gave us a phone number and
said we could come back. so we'll see later this week how many of them
turn into actual investigators, but i'm hopeful for the future of this
area. we've refocused our vision to the area near the church, and
we're starting to get busy.

anyways, so i believe i already told you about ing's family. they are
the mother and siblings of two of our members. so this past week we
had an amazing lesson with them. when we got there, they all seemed
pretty quiet and didn't seem especially excited to meet with us. we
talked and got to know them better as we began, and had fun with them.
as we asked about how their reading and praying had been going,
however, we were somewhat disappointed because they said they were too
busy or even too lazy. their apathy towards what we had taught them
about prayer was apparent. instead of just launching into an
explanation that they needed to pray or whatever else we could have
said, we just paused for a second to listen. as i sat there, i felt
prompted to ask a few questions about her family and how she felt
towards them. and we even discussed her feelings towards God, and what
she would want to say to Him if she had the opportunity to talk to Him
face to face. you could really see a change in her face, and see that
she was really understanding our conversation, and feeling the spirit
and love of God. that sunday, she brought a friend to church, and then
when we went to see her next, she had prayed and said she believed the
church was true. we asked her why she believed, and she said it was
because how she felt after she read the book of mormon and prayed.
that was the best experience i've had when it comes to really trying
to utilize inspired questions and creating an invironment for the
spirit to open people's hearts. it was amazing.

so we went to see the friend that ing's family brought to church on
monday, and they seem really good. we're hoping to get the friend's
whole family to come to church this sunday. they seem pretty excited .

besides that, tho, i don't really have any news. good things have been
happening here in kuching. i am so grateful for the investigators that
i have and for the opportunity to be here. thanks for being awesome
and continuing to write me emails. i love you and i'll talk to you
next week.

love, zac

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

and there were bed bugs everywhere!

hey dad.

how's it going? this week was a little different than usual, but it shed some light on a mystery that has been plaguing me for 2 months. i noticed when i got to kuching that i always had bites and that i was fairly itchy. i thought it was just that kuching had lots of mosquitoes, because i remember getting bitten all the time when i was in kuching last time. anyways, i was reporting with the guy i replaced (because he is now assistant to the president) and we were just talking about various things. he told me that nobody had washed the sheets when i got here or anything, which i thought was a common courtesy among missionaries. he also said that he was pretty itchy when he was here in kuching and told me that the problem was the bed. so i go to take off the sheets so i could was them, and there were bed bugs everywhere! holy moly that was a nasty experience. so i spent quite a while chasing down and killing bed bugs and then making sure my sheets and stuff got all washed. so that put a damper on my week.

but lots of good stuff happened. we had 3 baptisms this week from mulin's family. they are the best. and more baptisms coming up. we do need to keep getting new people, so this week will probably be more finding. it's tough to jugle in finding time with all the appointments, so sometimes it's an easy trap to fall into to just get a group of people, teach them all til they get baptized and then not have any investigators left. that's not a position we want to be in. our area is really big, so we're excited for what it holds for us.

anyways, i also got a new companion. elder simon who is from hawaii. he just came yesterday, so dont know him too well yet, but he seems like a good guy. things are fun here. but living in a house with only one other elder is always a little tough, no matter who the elder is. i've been missing 4 elder houses for 10 months now.

we also had a pretty crazy experience with a lady at the barber shop. my last companion wanted a hair cut before he went home. so i was sitting there while he was getting his hair cut, and then this lady that worked there sat next to me. we had talked to her a little bit about the church, and she remembered so she came and started asking me a few questions, like how the work was coming and other such thigns. it somehow came up that wheelwright was going home and that somehow led into us teaching the lady the first lesson. she's kind of crazy and really likes to talk, but she did say she'll come to church and sounded like she really meant it. we'll see how that goes tho. she kind of reminded me of the one indonesian recent convert i have in sibu jaya, so i'm hoping it also ends in a baptism.

anyways, sorry you've been sick. glad things are going better. good luck at breaking quinton out of his shell and good luck with the school year. christmas isn't too far away. anyways, i gotta go. i'll talk to you later.

hey mom.

yeah it was really fun to see the people of sibu jaya. i'm hoping to be able to go there at least one more time before i go home. we are going to have conferences every month back in sibu. only for one day, so hopefully one of those times i'll be able to find a way to sneak to sibu jaya. i also think the progress in malaysia is awesome. i thought when i went out i might not baptize anyone. but i have been extremely blessed.

thanks for the package mom. i really didnt mean to make you feel guilty. i tried to make a joke. i understand that it is expensive and can definitely go without a package. you dont even need to put any money in my account. but i really am grateful for the things you guys have done for me already. you guys are the best and i hope you know that i love you.

anyways, we had a pretty interesting week. firstly, baptism! we baptized mulin and his wife and one of the sons. the are so awesome. they really love to have us over and learn. i forgot my camera cord this week so i'll have to send pictures next week. i really love this family. one of the sons will get baptized this upcoming week because he had relapsed on a word of wisdom problem. but the son is also doing really well now and we are so excited for that family.

we also had some more lessons with puras and her family (the lady who thinks bukit is a girls name) they are doing really well. puras before had just seemed to be kind of going along with things, but this last lesson as we were discussing church and baptism with her, she really opened up, and said that she believes this church is true because she feels really good at church. she also talked about how she just felt different after having taken the sacrament. so she has a daughter who is 13 and a son who is 30 or so that are also learning and are on date for baptism next month. they are pretty good.

then we also have the family of a member that we are teaching. it's his mom and siblings. they seem really good. the mom and two of the sisters were at church on sunday and seem really good. they have really good support because two of the children in the family are already members, and the son in law is the second counsellor in the branch presidency. fellowshipping is the best. anyways, so i'm confident that those 3 will be baptized soon, but this last lesson, we were finally able to coax the father to come out of his room and meet us. it was at the very end, so we didnt really teach him anything, but he seemed very friendly with us, and said we could come back to teach. so we're going to work on him and see if we can't get the entire rest of the family baptized together. they are really friendly.

we also have a man named annua. he's been to church twice and seems really good. he's fairly religious. yesterday we talked with him about baptism, and he seems pretty excited about that. unfortunately the rest of his family is near impossible to meet with, so we'll keep trying with the rest of the family, but help annua to progress. he'll be a good member.

anyways, that was my week as teaching goes. but in other news, i killed my companion! which means i was his last companion. he is on his way to america right now. pretty nuts. so my new companion is elder simon. he's pretty cool. he's from hawaii. he came just yesterday, so not much news there, but things ae looking like they will go well. we're excited for the future.

i guess that's all i have for now. thanks for being awesome and by the way that cake looks delicious. anyways, talk to you next week.

love, zac

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

i dont know why girls would be named bukit

hey mom!

i apologize for making you think i expected a package. it doesnt cost any money to pick a package up here in malaysia, but you dont have to send me anything, i promise. i really was trying to make a joke, but i guess i didnt do it well. i apologize.

i did write most of my week to dad, so i hope you also read the email i sent to him. but yeah, my investigators are still doing well. we have mulin's family who is all looking to get baptized this saturday, except for the youngest son who had an issue with the word of wisdom. hopefully he'll get baptized next week. people here have to come to church for 3 weeks before baptism, and norina was sick this sunday so she has still only been to church twice. bummer. looks like she'll be waiting til next week too. we'll see how that goes.

we just watched conference and our investigators seemed to like it. we've got a family of 3 that was all at conference, so hopefully sometime in november they will be baptized. they are the neighbors of a longtime member. the mother of this family is the one who gave me a hard time about being called bukit. i dont know why girls would be named bukit, but they also have people named masam which means sour and all different kinds of crazy names. malaysian names are crazy.

my cough has gone away again. i think i'm just getting sick because i dont eat or sleep, i just find new investigators all day. just kidding. but i'm getting much better. my back has only hurt tiny bits every once in a while on my mission, but it always goes away. plus i brought my ibu profen just in case, but i've actually only used it for fever so far. i still have lots, so all is well.

it was pretty cool. i got to go back to my old area sibu jaya and see some recent converts. i got to see one of my recent converts birthday parties, which was fun. we got fed good food. life is good. hopefully tomorrow i'll be able to see some more. i tell you what, recent converts are the best. i love seeing people's lives change with this gospel, and seeing the growth of the church. so awesome.

thanks so much for the pics of izzy. thanks for supporting me while i'm out here. i am having so much fun it's ridiculous. but i'll let you go and talk to you next week. love you mom.

love, zac

hey dad!

how's it going? it's really good to hear from you. man things are going awesome! this week has been really slow when it comes to the work actually, but still awesome. saturday and sunday we watched conference. unfortunately we only saw it in malay, so i'm still waiting for the liahona to come out to read the real talks. almost all the translators they use are return missionaries, and their levels of translating ability vary. i'm sure i wouldn't be any good at translating, but i think it'd be pretty cool to try when i got home.

so right after church on sunday we left on our way to sibu! wihch is where i'm emailing from right now. we have a conference for all the missionaries here in sarawak to learn how to follow the spirit more and to ask inspired questions. it has been a lot of fun so far, especially since i can see my friends from around the mission. we have been learning lots of awesome things. so many that i can't even remember them all. i'll have to go back and study my notes for personal study in the future so i can put the material we've been learning into my teaching. i have so much to learn, but i know that success will go up.

so we just found out about transfer news. i'm staying in kuching, but my comp is going back to america so i'm getting a new companion next week. i've met the guy only once back in february and only for like 5 seconds, so we'll see how it goes. these transfers were so crazy tho. so many unexpected things. they split one zone apart. it's pretty cool to see our mission growing. they also just opened up a new branch in a place called mukah, which will hopefully have missionaries soon. while i was getting interviewed by president, he told me of some of his mission goals, which mostly are made up of opening up new areas and creating new branches. it was pretty cool to see how excited he is about missionary work and all the progress our mission is making.

so this conference is over 4 days, so i'll go back to kuching on friday. we have training from 9am to 5 pm, and then we are free to go out and contact/ find things to do in sibu. so i took the opportunity yesterday to head to sibu jaya. it was fun. i was able to see a good amount of recent converts. i even got to go to a birthday party. they seemed pretty happy to see me, which was nice because i was stoked to see them. i hope the things i shared with them will help to keep them strong in the church and strengthen the ones who are getting a little shaky. i'm also planning on going back tomorrow to see some more people so that should be cool.

this weekend we should have some baptisms. i think only 3 out of the we had planed can. but the other 3 will hopefully be next week. mulin's fam should be baptized, but i'll let you know next email. they are still awesome. the work is going well. for some reason i am a little apprehensive to get a new companion and have to teach him the area. i'm sure i'll do fine, but there are always those nervous feelings. not like there's much i can do about it. we still have basically the same people as last week come to church, so this upcoming week we're going to really push for new investigators and really try to use what we've learned and let what we've learned become a part of us a teachers. i know this work to be true. my testimony gets stronger every day and i'm so excited to be out here. malaysia is so awesome. i wish you could see it.

so how are your students doing? are you doing anything cool for halloween? it's so close. holy moly. have you been forcing quinton to teach while you guys do your home teaching? if he wants to serve a mission, it'd be best for hime to uproot his quietness right now. i tell you, i thought i got a lot more outgoing before my mission, and then i got out here and realized i was still just super scared to talk to people. it goes away tho, and then it gets really fun to talk to people about the church. who knows, maybe i can go with you home teaching a few times after i get back. and i'd actually be able to teach something too. thanks so much for supporting me while i am out here on the mission. it really has been the biggest blessing of my life. i can't believe how much i feel like i've grown out here. but i guess that's all i have for the week. take care dad, and i'll talk to you next week.

love, zac

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

occasionally i get a fever

hey mom. yeah i'm feeling better. i dont know what is wrong with me. i've been having lots of problems with my lungs since i've been here in malaysia. i just always have a cough and am coughing stuff up like i did when i had bronchitis back in the day. occasionally i get a fever. but besides that i've been doing well. i feel much better now, and can go out a teach these people a lesson or two... with my fists! just kidding. i will tell you that i've been going out all the time when it's raining and the sun is still shining. accursed hujan panas. it's pretty good you remembered that.
 but yeah, i told dad, but when it comes to my suits, we just store them at church. i dont have to wear them outside, so it's quite nice actually. everyone thinks i'm all handsome now. so hopefully that tactic will work when i get back to america. just wear my suit and people will think i'm handsome. as for conference, i'll hear it this upcoming sunday. i'm excited. it's pretty cool to be able to tell our investigators that they can hear from a living prophet. they normally think that is pretty cool. get's them all kinds of excited so hopefully we can get a good amount of investigators at church. this last week we had 11, wihch is the best i've had in kuching. that's exciting.
so actually, dad wrote me an email saying that i guess he may not have received some of the emails i've sent him. i'm afraid the last one i sent may also get lost, so i'm going to copy it and send it to you as well. i hope you don't mind, but it will give you the scoop on my week. here it is.
"hey dad. things are going well here. but what the heck? why doesn't anyone tell me anything. "I am sure that you've heard by now about Nano and Dawn's good news.  If they haven't told you yet, then I'll wait until next week." no one told me the good news. i read in nyssa's letter that even she found out. and she's getting a package for halloween of all holidays. don't you love me?
but with that said, we actually had a really awesome week here in kuching. and the good news about the suits is that we just store our suits at the church. when we get to church we change into them, and when we are going home we change out of them. so it is actually pretty nice. everyone thinks we look really good. and i guess it's kind of the way ibans do things that they dress really nicely when they are looking for a wife, so ive been asked a few times if i'm wearing a suit all of a sudden because i'm looking for a wife. they really like the idea of a white guy coming back and marrying an iban, and they get pretty sad when i tell them i'm gonna marry an american. but that's the way life goes i guess.
anyways, our baptism worked out and it was a miracle. the person we baptized is labang, and he's the brother of some recent converts. he has a crazy work schedule at kfc, and was scheduled to work the entire week from 6am to 12am. (think about that next time you feel your schedule is tough.) so this would have messed up his day for baptism and coming to church. he asked the boss to switch his schedule so he could have saturday evening off to get baptized and sunday morning off to be able to go to church. his boss said no. but we kept praying and his sister who also works at kfc went to talk to the boss on the thursday before the baptism, and the boss suddenly let him switch and everything worked out perfectly for the baptism. it was awesome. the only problem was that wheelwright and i forgot to take pictures. we're pretty dumb. but there's always another day.
and we found out that two of the families we are working with are really solid. we've got mulin's family. he had previously been smoking 2-3 packs a day (40-60 cigarrettes) and he just wants to be baptized so much he quit cold turkey and hasnt smoked for a week. we asked him how he does it, and he said he just keeps praying all day. he said that if you really believe you can stop, you just stop. he also told us he talked to his boss well in advance to make sure he gets the day of his baptism off work. he's really excited about getting baptized, expecially since his family will all be baptized with him.
we met with norina again as well. she is awesome. but we realized we are pretty crappy missionaries. well, when we were given her as a referral, we already knew her husband had just barely passed away. so we planned to talk about some aspects of the plan of salvation to help her. somehow we only reached the resurrection, and then it just happened that we moved on to joseph smith after that and continued. anyways, last time we met, we finished the plan of salvation. she had one question. she wanted to know how she could help her husband go to heaven. so we taught her about the temple a little bit and explained about baptisms for the dead and how her husband is learning in the spirit world. she told us that this lesson was what she had been waiting to hear. i said we are crappy missionaries because i dont know why we didnt help her to know that earlier in our teaching with her. but, luckily for us, everything worked out for the best and norina is really solid. she is really determined now to get baptized and keep coming to church so she can help her husband, and so she can be with her family forever. things are good.
also, we've been working for a few weeks with this guy named ruzh. he's indonesian and he's a referral from bella (who was baptized a few weeks ago) and her husband louis. we've taught him for a few weeks, and he's awesome. really solid. understands what we teach him really well and wants to follow. he had some trouble with work for a while, but on sunday he came to church! it was pretty sweet. luckily for him church moved almost right next door to him, so he can just walk to church. so he's just started progressing really well and hopefully not too much longer he'll be baptized.
we also had more success with a family that lives next door to some long time members. it's a lady and her daughter. they are pretty good and really seem to like to have us over. the lady seems fairly serious, but just the other day she started poking some fun at me (which really helps to show when people are opening up) the name i go by here in malaysia is bukit, which means hill. anyways, i guess in this lady's home town bukit is a girl's name. so she gave me a pretty hard time about that. but it was all in good fun. this family also lives next to the church and were there on sunday. the members seemed to fellowship them pretty well, so we're excited. anyways, that was my week, so i guess i'll let you go. i'm glad work is keeping you busy and that the french club is growing. good luck with getting the kids to the paris, and good luck with home teaching."
anyways, it's true that i gotta go. thanks for writing to me mom. i love you. talk to you next week.
love, zac
ps no baptisms this week, but next week should have some. i'll keep you informed.

i'll right dad. so i have to apologize. the part about asking if you loved me was supposed to be a joke. it's hard to convey humor over email. but to make matters worse, nano just barely email me the news. so i feel bad. please dont hate me. i love you and talk to you next week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

fever and then death cough

hey dad

i havent yet been able to listen to conference. because of the time difference, they show conference during church like 2 weeks after it is normally aired. so i think on the 17th i'll be able to watch it. i'm pretty excited. unfortunately there arent any good ice cream places to go to around here. well, i guess i do know where to get some mean corn and yam flavored ice creams! but i'll pass. now when i watch conference and i hear an accent and can guess the speaker comes from malaysia, that'll be a cool day.

hey that's pretty cool you guys watched saints and soldiers for your french class. in my mission, there's actually a list of movies that are approved, and it changes every 3 months. so every 3 months we get to watch 5 different movies. and the movie list that just went out of date had saints and soldiers on it.

i am pretty jealous of the delicious food you get to eat. i dont know how to make many things, so my cooking gets pretty broing. but we have been experimenting with curry at the house here, and things are looking good. pretty delicious. so maybe i'll be able to cook a few dishes when i get back.

so what's the ward like back home? any new people move in since i've been gone? any people move out? any new missionaries get their calls? i guess whatever you have to tell me i'd like to hear.

we had a pretty interesting lesson last night with some recent converts where we taught them about missionary work. we have been receiving a good amount of trainings about following the spirit and really preparing for a lesson before it happens. so in preparation for this lesson we thought of an expample they would be able to relate to. her sometimes the police do road blocks to catch people who dont have licenses. so we used that example and related it to baptism and how they need to warn their friends. kind of silly example but we felt good about the lesson. anyways, so we get to the house, and they already had someone there who wasnt a member! so we taught this person and they seem fairly interested in learning. it was pretty cool. the non member there also seemed to enjoy our lesson that we had prepared, so we had a lot of fun. there's also some more potential for investigators we have that have yet to be met with again. church just moved to a more accessable area, so hopefully we'll be getting more people at church soon. we do have a baptism coming up this weekend, the younger brother of a recent convert, which is pretty exciting. and in other news, my current companion goes home at the end of october. pretty crazy, huh? we also have a conference for all the missionaries that will take place in sibu on the 17th, so we have that to look forward to. i'm hoping to be able to find my way back to sibu jaya to see my recent converts.that'll be cool. i don't know if you remember me talking about a man named clement we baptized back in sibu jaya, but he's going to get the melchizedek priesthood next week or the week after, so that's pretty awesome. it's cool to see recent converts keep progressing in the church.

anyways, that's all i have. talk to you next week. take care and have a good week.
love, zac


it's funny that you threw in that last little bit about menot getting sick again. because unfortuantely all last week i was pretty sick. fever and then death cough. but you know, you just keep going out and you get better eventually. things are doing much better now, although i am still tempted to sleep in a few minutes after that alarm goes off. sickness has it's own way of making you lazy. of yeah, so pretty crazy news. the entire time up to this point in the mission we have been keeping our suits in singapore in storage because it's really hot and humid in malaysia. so it's been over a year since i've seen my suit. anyways, the area presidency just enforced this rule i guess that all of us missionaries have to wear our suits to church on sunday. pretty nuts huh? last sunday was my first sunday, but my pants got lost in transit so i had to embarrass myself by wearing my plain black suitcoat with blue pin striped pants. but luckily the pants were found, so i'[m looking forward to this sunday being better. i thought malaysians thought the white guy was handsome normally, but what i found out is malaysians think a white guy is really handsome in a suitcoat. everyone commented at seeing the four of us elders who go to the one building in suits. it was fun.

but yeah, so i dont exactly remember who i talked about last week.. but we had a good week this week. we taught norina some more. she really like's having us over. she seems to understand things pretty well, and is pretty excited to get baptized. we had a pretty funny experience teaching her about the word of wisdom. she heard about it in testimony meeting (for some reason all malaysians like to testify about the word of wisdom) and so norina asked us what the word of wisdom was all about. she was so confused at why someone would testify about not drinking alkohol. so we just explained about the normal things we explained about and listed the things outlined as not good in the word of wisdom. i cant really describe it, but you shouldve seen the look on her face when we said coffee and tea. but she didnt complain or ask why, she just accepted that it came from God, because she already has a big testimony of joseph smith. but after seeing how surprised she was i had to try hard to keep myself from laughing. she's a really funny lady, and is going on good track to get baptized.

there's also this other family, the father of whose name is mulin. they are doing really well. they are all really excited for baptism and talk about it every time we go over there. i just feel like all the training's we've received have helped us to do a good job in teaching his family as well as norina. they just really seem to feel like this message is personal to them and love having us over. it wasnt really anything that we did, but luckily they were open enough to receive the witness of the holy ghost. we've been asked by our mission president to sing at every appointment, and mulin's family especially enjoy's it. they always ask us to sing at the end, and they always say "wow, that's a really good song" teaching these families have been a lot of fun.

so we met the family for a second time of that kid we flagged down that one day. they are all friends with this one family who got baptised a few months agao, and they are pretty funny. i enjoy going over there. they seem pretty excited about the message. the mom kept saying how she felt like we were angels sent from god to tell them about this message. that was pretty cool. the dad of the family is just hilarious. i dont even know how to describe it, but i love talking to the guy. so funny.

oh yes.. so i've realized a few things over the past few weeks. well, i never thought about it like this, but it really doesn't matter what we say as missionaries if we follow the spirit, because he will testify to our investigators exactly what they need. i really dont know how to describe what i mean, but i'll try. we were talking with norina about joseph smith and the restoration. and i just started talking about the apostacy and how joseph smith was called as a prophet. all of a sudden norina's face lit up and she was like "joseph smith's story is like my story!" but this realization helped her to have a testimony. just whatever she felt let her know that the story is true. and it also helped her to feel happy in her time of trial. she kept saying that if joseph smith could do something hard like restore the church if god asked him to, that she should be able to get through her time of trouble. it was pretty cool.

anyways, that's what i got for the week. sorry i dont have any pictures. take care and talk to you next week.
love, zac

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the lady's name is bella

hey mom. sorry if you got confused, but that picture that i sent you is of all the missionaries in the entire singapore mission, every single elder and sister serving here. there are about 80 of us. it was taken in august so not too long ago. all of us went to singapore for a training, actually the same training that nyssa described having just been through. missionary work is actually undergoing a transformation, so every mission is having trainings like the one nyssa described to get missionaries used to teaching towards people's needs and not teaching lessons. next year, the mtc will also change the way missionaries are taught to be more in line with teaching towards investigators needs. our mission president told us something kind of funny. i'll try to describe briefly what he said. well, missionary work used to be done with memorized lessons, written by apostles. then they made the switch to preach my gospel so missionaries would teach by the spirit. after preach my gospel, success in the world went down. he said the problem was that the missionaries after preach my gospel came out were still using memorized lesson, but ones that they had come up with themselves. the comment i thought was funny was this "when i was a missionary, at least we memorized lessons that were written by apostles!" so they've really been working us hard to make specific lessons for each person so they are tailored fit to whomever we will be teaching. it's fairly tough. lot's and lot's of planning, but it's been good. it is a little frustrating when you spend a good amount of time preparing a lesson and then at the last minute the person cancels, but i guess that's part of being a missionary.
anyways, as for the missionarying this week, things have been really good. our baptism did go through. i'll attatch a pic. the lady's name is bella. she's indonesian and pretty awesome, but way shy. her husband was baptized a few months ago. it was awesome to hear her testimony. she seemed really happy to have joined the church. also, we've been tracting in various areas for the past few days. we contacted this german lady who speaks really good english and is married to a chinese malaysian. that was pretty unexpected. she seemed to be pretty happy to talk to another white person. she said we could come back and teach a little bit, so we'll see how that goes. it always surprises me to run into white people in malaysia. there's so many more in kuching than sibu. we also ran into this scottish guy. and as we were riding past the airport, we encountered an english man who wasn't very nice. what a stange week. but after we finished talking to the german lady, we saw this kid on a moto. he drove past us and then turned around and started driving back towards us. so we kind of flagged him down and started talking to him. we found out he works with one of our investigators. so he invited us to go to his house. just yesterday we met them, and the kids family seems awesome. they have trouble with work, so we'll see how things go, but the family is pretty cool.
we're still working with those people i talked about last week, but they're being bums right now. it's tough to get them to church. they seem good, but i guess we haven't done a good enough job at conveying the importance of church. i can see some of these families becoming big strengths to this area. we'll just have to keep working hard and see how things go. anyways i guess that's all for my week. i will add that i am pretty jealous to hear your plans to visit cold stone. malaysia just hasn't quite figured ice cream out yet.
thanks for the letter mom. i guess i'll be going. take care and have a good week.
love, zac

ok here are some pics. they are of the lady who got baptized, bella, then there's the 18 of us i told you about who played soccer last week, and then there's this crazy building that i saw while riding my bike one day. notice which side all the motos are on. you can think of it what you like.
anyways, that's all i have for this week. see ya

Thursday, September 23, 2010

in the ZC

hey dad.

things are going well here in kuching. i'm really enjoying being here. we bike a lot more than i did in sibu jaya. i've been riding the bike of the elder i replaced for the last month, but they finally shipped my old one from sibu jaya to kuching. i cant even describe how much better it is. it's like i'm not even riding. it's so smooth and nice. life is good.
we just had zone conference, but we were accompanied by the sibu zone. there were 18 of us elders all together. it was nice to see some old friends. we had lots of fun playing soccer for p day. but we did learn a lot. i feel like there's no end to the amount i can learn about missionary work. i feel like i should be just an awesome missionary by how much i feel like i learn, but every time it comes time for zone conference, i always learn so much more. nuts. but i think it's been working. we are getting more people to teach. we've got a few families that i'm excited about. i wrote more about them to mom if you want to read about them. hopefully things work out with them.

also we kind of had a funny/cool experience yesterday. we were riding trying to find a good area to contact. we kind of just went exploring. we saw these houses but they were pretty much all chinese. so we kept going around scoping the area out. we saw an old run down shack off in the distance and a house with a light on. so we went and checked it out. we trecked through lots of plants and even crossed a chasm. chasm i say. anyways as we got closer we could see it was more than just one house. we had found a kampung that was completely hidden from the main roads. theres a section that is all muslim, but a pretty large part that is all christian. we didnt get much time to contact there, but i'm pretty excited for later. it's so big. i feel like there have to be people there who will get baptized.

also, this weekend we should have a baptism. the wife of a recent convert so were are pretty excited about that. they are really awesome, and indonesian. i love indonesians. the ones ive met have been pretty funny. anyways, that's all i have for the week. i guess i'll talk to you later. have a good week. have fun with your classes.

hey ma.
so dont worry about not having written me. it so happens that it was zone conference this week so our pday was changed to thursday. we had a lot of fun this past week. they actually combined sibu and kuching zones for zone conference so i got to see all the elders from my old zone. we had a really good training. the best of which we learned more effective patterns for committing people to do things like go to church and pray. it was really helpful. we've been using the stuff we've learned in trainings and things are going way better. this past week was pretty cool. for zone conference pday kuching zone played sibu in futsal, which is indoor soccer with a net surrounding the court. it was really fun. we came from behind for the win, and then we just played around after that. but next month i'll be able to see them all again because we have another conference this time in sibu towards the end of october. it's actually the week before my comp goes home. pretty nuts.

anyways, yeah we did actually get to teach that one lady again. we've been to see her a few times since i wrote last. she is doing really well. you can tell the change that has taken place. she is much happier and really has a desire to go to church. and she has a lot of family, so it looks like it will be a big source for referrals. i dont know why we havent asked her for any referrals yet, but we will, and i'm sure things will go well. we were teaching her about baptism and she really understood well. the cool thing about her is that she is so interactive. she asks lots of questions to check for her own understanding and understands well. i'm just not used to not having to push people to talk to us.

anyways, while contacting we got this other good family that we've just seen once, but they seem really good. they are bidayuh. the father of the house was pretty interested in what we had to say. he asked us to just sit and share with him a bit. we were asking all these questions about how to know which church is christ's church, and he was like "you know, that's what i don't know. there are so many churches. maybe some are just made by men. which one is christ's?" i was pretty surprised by that, but it was a good question. it's also a plus that our church is way closer to his house than his old church.

there was also this other family we've been teaching. so the son of this family married into a member family and got baptized. so now we're working on his parents and siblings, which i guess used to not really want to learn. anyways, we were over there and they had also just had a death in the family. so we talked with them about christ and the resurrection. they were really surprised to hear that they would see their grandmother again. they were really excited to learn about how they could all be together forever. we had taught them before, but only the father listened. this last time the entire family came and all said they wanted to learn more. it was pretty cool. they were even about to leave right before we got there, but we asked for just a few minutes to share instead of just letting them go, and we had a really good lesson with them.

we're also teaching a daughter of a member who is jehova's witness. you dont run into too many of those in malaysia. it's been pretty interesting but the woman seems to be open to what we have to say. she asked if we only had the bible as scripture. normally that question comes when people just want to fight and discredit our church because of the book of mormon. that's what i anticipated so i answered based around that assumption. then i asked what she was expecting by learning from us. she said she just wanted to learn more about God and hear more of his words. so i guess she is definitely open to new books, because she feels like she can learn from it. unfortunately at the time, i didn't relate this desire to the fact that we have a living prophet who always receives more of God's words. hopefully things will work out next time.

but yeah we've been contacting and getting new investigators. i'll let you know how the others go as they progress. we are getting busier and things are going well. hopefully we'll have a lot of investigators at church. that's the best. anyways, i think that's all for the week. thanks for the letter mom. i love you. talk to you next week.
love, zac

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

hari raya

hey dad. i'm sorry youve been sick. i hope you are feeling better now. i was also not feeling to good the past
couple of weeks. i guess those bugs just find their way around the world. how are the classes doing? any giving
you trouble? so how did they solve that issue with the permanent substitute who didnt speak french? i'm sorry
this letter is so short. i sent quite a few pics so it ate up most of my time. please refer to the emails that i
wrote to mom to get a scoop on my week and see the pics. it was hari raya here in malaysia, celebrating the end
of the month of fasting. so people were pretty excited. like i wrote to mom, we got to meet and take pictures
with the governor of malaysia. lots of food! anyways, i gotta get going. love you dad.
love, zac

Zachary Royden Hill
to me

show details 9:17 PM (58 minutes ago)

wee! it was hari raya this week. you know, like that big party they have where they eat a bunch after the month
of fasting? that one. it was pretty fun, and made for an exciting week.we got invited to a few open houses where
it was expected that we just eat as much as we could. everyone was excited to have the white guys over, and needles
s to say, wanted pictures. anyways, i sent a pic of me and my companion, elder wheelwright, standing with a pretty
old malaysian man. that is the governor of the malaysian state of sarawak. we managed to snag an invite to his
open house to celebrate hari raya and got a pic with him. pretty sweet, huh? the big white building is his
house/palace. anyways, the picture of the lighted city at night is singapore when i was the 3 weeks ago. they had
some youth olympics thing going on, so it was a pretty crazy time to be there. lots of fire works. the picture of
4 missionaries is myself and the rest of my district outside of the governors palace. all the baptism pics are
from my last baptism in sibu jaya yet. still working on a kuching baptism. we'll see how things go.

i still dont have too much to talk about. we did lots of contacting this week so far, but have yet to do the
follow up appointments with anyone new that we got. there's potential but not much to say about it right now.
well, i guess i'll talk about a few people. so a recent convert gave us a referral- this lady whose husband just
died, which is a pretty intimidating circumstance to go contact someone under. we went one day to bring the member
over to the ladies house, but the member had already left. we still felt like we should go see the referral. i'll
refer to her as norina from now on. when we went over there, there was still some sort of get together going on
after the funeral and the lady told us to come back in a week. so on tuesday was the day we went back. now we've
just been having lots of trainings on asking "inspired questions" which are questions that open up the heart and
mind to give place for a witness of the holy ghost. so we've really been working on asking better questions. so we
went to the house and norina came. the first thing she said was "i'm not ready yet. maybe in two months you can
try again" i can't even remember what we asked her, but after like two minutes of us talking, she asked us out of
no where to come in and sit down. so we did and she just opened up about what had been happening in her life. so
we just listened. and we just started talking to her. i really cant remember the way the conversation went, just
the results of it. multiple times during our discussion she turned to her father who was sitting near by and told
him that she felt really good talking to us. and then when the time came to leave, she told us that we could come
back to her house every day to teach her if we wanted. even twice a day, she said. i just couldnt believe the
change that occurred. it went from i'm not ready to come every day. it was a pretty cool experience.

then we met this other lady who is actually learning in the jehova's witnesses church. the rest of her family are
members, but she isnt yet. so we went there and talked with her before she left for work. we just really asked
about what she wants in life and out of religion. it was crazy how she just opened up to us. i was reallly
expecting her to really be opposed to us coming. she told us how she feels like lots of things are bad in the
world and wonders why God lets them happen. i dont know why, but after that we started talking about prophets and
why we have them and she said she believed there should be a prophet today to lead us. then she said she believed
that joseph smith's story could be true and she had a desire to follow the restored church. i guess her husband
is a non-christian and is uneasy about her learning about christianity, so we'll have to see how it goes.
i'm excited for it tho. i just really learned this week how much better things go when you focus teaching on
asking questions and getting the investigator to do much more talking. ibans and malaysians are pretty timid,
especially around two white guys, so they dont like to talk a lot. it takes a lot of work, but really is worth it
to get them to talk more.

anyways, i'm having lots of fun and things are going well around here in kuching. success is on the way. anyways,
all the pics took my time away so i'm gonna have to go. love you mom.
love, zac

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

not much went on this week

hey dad & mom. well i'm glad to hear things went smoothly with Nano's wedding. it sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. sorry i'm writing this to both of you, but i really cant think of much to write. i hope you dont mind.

i'm not going to lie, not much went on this week. well on sunday my companion and i went to sibu for a training which was pretty cool. lots of training lately. they just slowly by slowly keep raising the bar a little higher. they taught about accountability and gave us this introspective question 'would you be happy if everyone's area in the mission was like yours?" it made me think. i just got here, but the area could use some work. we are fairly low on investigators. i feel like this week went by so fast so i can hardly remember anything, but somehow we were busy enough to not leave much time for finding. we have some good investigators who will be baptized soon. there's a lady named bella who's husband got baptized a few weeks before i got transferred here. she is really good and pretty ready. they are both from indonesia. i like them a lot. they seemed to take a bit of getting used to me being there as opposed to the elder i replaced. i feel like most of my reception has been pretty good so far tho.

we live in an area that is far away from the area i used to work, so i get to see a lot of new people. our area is pretty far from the church so we are facing some problems with transport, which has always been present in kuching. i was spoiled in sibu jaya without transport issues. it's always interesting to have new challenges to work with and have to adapt to them. i feel like i'm learning more than ever about how to do missionary work. the trainings we've had have taught us how to ask more effective questions and to speak with people so they open up and have a conversation. i'm still working on correction some issues with my teaching style (i like to talk a lot) and it really is seeming to go much better. also, ive never gone into so much detail to plan a lesson at any time in my mission as i am now, and that is really nice. lots of questions and scriptures. thinking about what our investigators might ask. i'm having a lot of fun here in kuching. i really like it, even with the added distance of bike riding. i really wouldnt mind if i stayed here for the rest of my mission, but i doubt it. i guess i'll just take whatever is given to me.

so this upcoming week we have a lot of new investigators to find, so we're hoping that next month just has a ton of baptisms. we'll see how it goes. we have lots of people who have referred their friends that we will also contact before the close of this week, so looks like we will be pretty busy soon. oh yeah, they are also building an actual chapel in kuching that will be finsihed sometime next year. now everyone is meeting in shoplots. they had the ground breaking for the building on sunday, but i missed it because i was in sibu. shame. well hopefully i'll have more to talk about next week. i love you guys.
love, zac

hey ma
thanks for the pics, although i am quite surprized you didnt send any of nano with dawn. well i didnt get any at least. we are still a little low on investigators, but this upcoming week we'll be doing lots of finding and referral seeking, so i'm sure things will open up soon. our area is pretty far from the church, so it's kind of hard for people to get there. i like being in a big city, but transport is a pretty big problem here. they are working on a new shoplot closer to our area that should be finished in october, so hopefully by then we'll be getting more people to church. we'll see. i dont have much time left. i thought i'd send you just a quick note to respond. the letter i sent to dad has more info that i intend both of you to read. anyways, thanks for the pics and letting me know about the goings on. hopefully i'll have more to say next week. jangan marah. faham. i love you lots. take care mom.
love, zac

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

kota sentosa

hey dad
sorry if you feel i havent been giving that much detail. i really do feel rushed while writing so i never remember what i did in the past week or what ive already written before, etc. so if the is something you'd like to know more specifically about, it would help if you asked a specific question so i could answer it. that's crazy about all the kids wanting to learn french. at least it will help you to sell those preps, yeah?

well, so i arrived in kuching. we've just been going around getting to know the members and investigators of the branch. it's been fun. there are lots of good people here. i'm glad to be here. the dynamics are a little different from my last area. i've been doing a lot more bike riding, so i'm starting to get back in shape. 8 months in sibu jaya made me weak. we almost never rode our bikes there because it was so small. kuching is huge! we live like 8-10 miles from the actual city of kuching. kuching recently split from 3 to 5 branches, so they extended the area from what it used to be to include another place way south of town called kota sentosa. so lots of biking. church at the moment is 40 min away. i'm still trying to get used to it here and to get to know the people. the area is a little slow right now, but things are already looking up. i'm excited. anyways, nothing much to talk about. sorry. hopefully next week will be more interesting.
love, zac

hey ma. so singapore was pretty crazy. the training we got was good. i guess we'll have another one in october to keep training our skills up and help us to be better at teaching. i think i said this last week, but i felt like i had learned so much about missionary work up to this point. these trainings are just showing me how much more i have yet to learn. so hopefully i'll be more effective as a missionary in the future. the next one will be just for people in east malaysia, so we wont be going to singapore again. good thing too. singapore really takes it out of me. (and the pocket)

the good thing about the word of wisdom, is that if the desire to stop is there and people rely on the lord, it can happen. i cant believe how many people ive seen give up smoking when they thought they never would be able to. the Lord really does take care of his children. so i'm confused. people are amazed at my success until you tell them i'm in a new area? pff like that makes the work easier. success can be achieved anywhere, you just need to take the right steps to get it. in this mission, west malaysia is seen as the part of the mission where no baptisms happen. but you do see those companionships that have crazy success there. i feel that elder lang and i just worked really well together and were blessed a lot by the Lord. i guess people can blame my success on the area being brand new, but i worked through plenty of hardship and sorrow to know what really happened in sibu jaya.

it is so crazy being back to kuching. i'm in an area that is really far from where i used to be, so lots of new things too. but we still go to church in the same building for now as i used to, so i get to see people from the other branches after our church is over. there are lots of people that i used to know., and there are even people in my current branch that i have met before from going on exchanges with the elders that used to serve here. it's a pretty cool experience. it's a litttle tough, because the area i inherited is low on investigators at the moment, but never fear, we'll get that crazy success going again. we've got a lot of good potential started, so we'll just keep it going. the church building is pretty far from our area like a 40 min bike ride from our house, but they are working on a new building that will be right near by, so hopefully that will help us to overcome more of the transport issues that come from living in a big east malaysian city. i tell you what, i've been lucky before this point to have never had to replace another elder. but this past transfer was my first time. i feel kind of awkward, just because i know the elder i replaced and i'm a lot different than him. you just never know what the people are going to think of you when you get to a new place. i feel like i've had a pretty warm welcome so far, but the investigators seem to still be trying to get used to me. hopefully things wil be back to normal soon.

also, like 2 weeks ago i caught bronchitis and i seem to finally be on the mend. we played indoor soccer again for pday today, and i was hacking up a lung, but it seems to be going away. the work just keeps going, you know? i really do love the people here in kuching and im excited for what the future holds here. besides that i dont really have much to talk about since i'm still really new here, so i guess i'll just talk to you guys next week. love you lots.