Tuesday, March 30, 2010

a disturbance in the force

Zachary Royden Hill
to me
show details 7:04 PM (1 hour ago)
hey dad.

that's pretty cool that nyssa gave her farewell talk already. so how do you feel about having two kids out on missions now? i feel sorry for nyss going to a place that's so cold, but i guess that's just because i'm so happy with having been sent to a warm place. she'll do well there. i think i wouldve died if they had tried to tell me i need to speak for the entire time. i remember not even being able to look out into the audience when i gave my talk. i was terrified. but talks arent all that bad. i learned quickly into the mission that there were plenty of things i disliked more than giving a talk in church. like door knocking. it's so unpredictable! but i've pretty much gotten over my fear of that as well. i guess you just get to a point where you just realize there's nothing to be afraid of. i know this message is true, and i know it will help anyone that will listen to me. when Elder Nelson came and talked to us, he gave some advice that really helped me. he told us not to be ashamed of what we teach, and never see ourselves as a burden on these people. we dont have to feel like bad people by inviting them to change certain aspects of their lifestyle. it was a good experience to listen to that man speak.

so i guess i'll talk about a few of last weeks events. last week was pretty good. we had zone conference and we learned about the apostasy and different teaching strategies from the president. unfortunately i forgot note taking materials. another lesson learned. but immediately after zone conference, we had a baptism of two people. i told you about them last week. it was awesome. they both gave their testimonies afterwards. i was impressed. then, the next day, we took the older one to help us with a lesson and he was awesome. he's really good at teaching. so i'm excited for hime and his cousin. in church, we confirmed them and you could tell they really enjoyed it. but there was a disturbance in the force. if i may, i'll tell you about a situation that has been unraveling over the past few weeks. when i first got to sibu jaya, we met this crazy indonesian lady who didnt seem like she wanted to learn at all. she is a member of this church that is called "sidang injil borneo" which is a some sort of evangelical church. we didnt have any plans to go back and see the lady because she seemed so disinterested. anyways, about two weeks after that, she comes to church out of no where. so we went and started teaching her. she seemed to be making improvement. we had her on date for baptism. then she gave us a referral, a friend who also belonged to her church. so we went and taught that lady, and it was terrible. she turned it into a terrible bible bash and talking about how our church was false she even invited the pastor over while we were there and he tried to forbid us from going back to that flat ever again. unfortunately for us, she also talked to that indonesian lady who had become our investigator. she no longer had any desire to join our church. but she still showed up on sunday. during the lesson, she kept trying to interrupt and tell everyone what her church believed. but here's the kind of cool part. our members, and even investigators just turned to here while she was talking and started telling her about how they know this church is true. the guy that just got baptized used to be a member of her church. he was like "i used to be SIB. it's not true. that's why i joined this church because God told me it was true." it was pretty awesome. sometimes even experiences that can seem bad at the time turn out to be pretty cool. another good thing is we went back to that flat and knocked. we got quite a few people to invite us back. i know that nothing can obstruct God in His work. even with some hardships that i have seen, i have seen miracles and am happy to be a part of this work. take care of yourself this week dad, and tell everyone i love them.
love, zac

Zachary Royden Hill
to me
show details 7:22 PM (1 hour ago)
hey mom. thanks for wishing me happy easter. i'm going to guess that easter is this upcoming sunday? none of the malaysian calendars have easter on them, so i've been a little confused lately. but it's good. life is awesome here in malaysia. it's funny that you talk about the healthy diet. i was under the impression that people here would all be skinny and healthy because of what they eat. maybe my expectations were unrealsitic, but was really surprized at how many people here are overweight. i'm sure it's much less than other countries, but it was still surprizing. the whole time i'm thinking "how do you get fat from rice and weeds?" they have some types of vegetables here that smell and taste like i opened the lawn mower bag and starting eating from there. that's why we call them weeds if you were confused. the people here are pretty interesting in the things they eat. they can go out and just pick plants and cook them, and be perfectly happy while eating them. wild mushrooms, leaves, roots even. there's one family that loves to cook us roots. i think when i get back, i'll turn into a mountain man and just live off the environment. i'm learning it on my mission! i'm not gonna lie, i wish you could send me cake and peeps as well. luckily for me, i cant complain too much. the missionary couple here is really good to us when it comes to dessert. even my sweet tooth is happy. but i will be expecting a peep sunflower cake when i get back! haha just kidding. isnt it crazy tho that i've been gone for 9 months? it still feels like the summer i left since we havent had winter or spring, so i keep getting fooled into thinking i've only been out like 2 or 3 months. time has flown by faster than i ever imagined it would. it's so fun here tho. i love the people so much. i really am going to miss it when i have to leave. i'm a little depressed that malaysia is so far away, because it makes it that much harder to go back and visit. so anyways, like i told dad, we had another baptism last friday. we wont have one this week, but we should have another one next week. the works just a rollin! whee! i was going to send pictures this week, but i think i will next week because for p day today we're going to visit this sweet chinese temple. so i'll snap some photos and get them sent off. and i'll get some pics of the baptisms too so you can see what our newest members look like. i'm excited for them because i can see their testimonies getting strong. anyways, i should probably get. i'll talk to you next week and hopefully i'll have pics. love you mom.
love zac

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2 baptisms!

hey ma. i got about two baskets full of that rice. the natives got like 6 in the same amount of time though. they're fast. there's a lot of random grass that grows up in a rice field here. you have to sift around until you find the good stuff. the people we were with kept telling me about how good the rice is at hiding. it's so funny because they have this iban tradition about the rice getting mad if you change places while picking up the rice. they kept talking about how the rice was gonna get mad at us. i love the people here. so funny. then they fed us this huge thing of curry. oh man, curry is delicious. i love the way ibans cook. (but i think the food here would be even better cooked with boneless skinless meat, but i take what i can get!) i tell you what, ive never eaten so much rice as i have here. sometimes we get it 3 times a day. i'm getting a lot skinnier, and i'm a little worried about my all rice diet. but it's pretty good so i guess i'll just see how things go for the rest of my mission. that's really cool you got to see elder anderson speak. of course no apostles come to our stake until after i leave. but it's all good. in february we got to listen to elder nelson speak and shake his hand. that was pretty cool.

so speaking of the baptism, it did in fact happen. it was really good. the lady got up afterward and bore her testimony and it was sweet. she just talked about how she knows this church is true and how happy she is to join this church. it really is a special experience to work with people and see the change, especially when the result is them saying they know this church is true. i'm excited for her. also, tomorrow we have more baptisms. this 21 year old guy and his 15 year old cousin. both are solid. i'm so excited. we knocked into the 15 year old cousin and taught him and his mother. his mother wasnt interested, but he liked having us come over. one day, he said his cousin wanted to meet with us, but normally people just want to meet us because we are white. anyways, we call him up and met him that night (which was a saturday) and he had all these questions. so we answered them. and the weeks after that he just always had all these questions and just really wanted to learn. he was happy we came, because he had been to tons of other churches before, and that week he had prayed for God to show him the true church. so that was a pretty good testimony builder. i think he's gonna really help this area out. he took about 2 weeks to quit smoking, so we had taught him everything and still wanted to meet with him. anyways, we taught him about the priesthood and his duty to help people hear about the church, and he pulled out his phone right there and called his friend. so i have a feeling he's going to be a big help to us in the future. what a fun week this was. we even got to go hack our way through the jungle with machetes. that was so much more fun than i ever would have thought. we also felled a tree. just me and my comp. now that's unity. anyways, i'm glad you and dad are having fun at home. i'm having tons of fun here, and also success! what a wonderful country malaysia is. anways, i gotta go. i'll talk to you next week. love ya!
love, zac

hey dad
that's really cool taht you got to meet an apostle. it really is an
awesome opportunity. you really can tell there's something special
about them. that's a cool opportunity for nyss. i'm not gonna lie, i
would probably be like that before i came out. but i think now i have
the guts. haha. a mission tends to do that to you i guess. so how
often do you go out and do things with ward members? because that
sounds like a lot of fun. i just think it's funny because as
missionaries we are always trying to get people in the branch to be
friends with each other. what a cool thing a ward is. an automatic
group of friends that have your same values. i remember before the
mission i didnt really want much to do with the ward other that go to
church there, and now i really regret it. i'm excited for when i get
back, just because i feel like i know kind of how to be a member of
this church now.

haha i just got your letter telling me youd like a letter. i'm workin
on it! haha
i guess ill tell you a bit about my week before i let you go. we had
two baptisms last week. a lady and her daughter. what a cute family
that is. i love them, and they really know the church is true. their
baptism was pretty sweet. they seemed to enjoy it. also, tomorrow we
have two more people getting baptized. the work here is starting to
just go. it's nice to see such visible results of your labor, even
though it's not necessary to feel like you've been a good missionary.
our investigators and new members are so solid. i really am pleased
with the group of people we have found. in kuching i remember we used
to try to round up people for church, but our group here just comes.
it's really nice. we just sit and welcome people. and we get new
people all the time. anyways, this week was really good. hacking
through the jungle, road trip with investigators for birthday party.
i'm really super happy right now. everything is going well. i'll get
pictures to you hopefully next week of the bapstisms and maybe the
trip with investigators. who knows? anyways, i love you dad. be safe.
love, zac

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Picking Rice

Zac to me
show details 8:08 PM (2 hours ago)

hey what's going on dad
i sent that last email because i wasnt sure if the pictures had loaded
properly, but it looks like things turned out all right. so. thanks
for putting me on the census. that was pretty close. i cant believe my
war wolf lost. what a shame. i cant ever show my face at a french club
meeting again. i'm not gonna lie, i don't really even really remember
the engineering of that machine. maybe i could figure something out
when i get back. but anyways, so this week was way better. we have a
baptism coming up like i said in my email to mom. so we're looking
forward to that. we'll see how things go! so last week we helped a
family go and pick up their rice. that was a fun experience. the
pictures are of us picking it up. what funny people they are. i love
them. the white guy next to me in the pic is my comp. what a strange
man he is. cant even look at the camera properly. anyways, if you're
ever asked to give an update on me again, just let the people know i
am doing well and having fun. anyways, i should probably get. love you
dad. take care.
love, zac

Zachary Hill to me
show details 7:44 PM (2 hours ago)

hey ma
happy saint patty's day! wee! if only the people here celebrated it.
but it's all right that they dont. i still love them. i can't
believe it's already starting to warm up in vegas. winter's already
dyin. that's pretty sweet tho. i never did like the cold. so
basically when it comes to investigators, we've got some pretty
sweet ones. we've got a baptism coming up this saturday, so that
should be pretty sweet. it's a lady and her daughter. they are so
fun. and we found out she's already telling people about the church
the other day, so we should be getting referrals from her soon as
well. this past sunday, we only had 15 people at church. but that
was because none of our members showed up. so there was me and my
comp, one member, and two visitors from miri. the rest were all
investigators. so i feel things are going well. this upcoming week
we should have a lot more at church, so i'm pretty excited. the
work just keeps on going. that's exciting that you get to meet an
apostle. it was pretty sweet when we got to meet elder nelson here
in malaysia. he was talking about how the work here will flourish
in the future. it's pretty cool to be working to build up the
church in a place where it is still new. anyways, know that
everything is going well here and i am happy. talk to you later ma.

love, zac

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

still in Sibu Jaya

hey dad
that's pretty crazy about all your kidney stones. how in the world
does that happen? anyways, i'm glad you're doing all right. did you
have to take time off of
school for that? it's good that both the elders in chile are doing
well. i couldnt imagine anything like that happening to me. there arer
quite a bit of shoddy wood houses, so i imagine if there were ever an
earthquake here it'd be pretty bad. that's a cool story about the
people wanting to join the church. unfortunately i dont have any story
like that just yet. but the mission is going really well. this last
week i went on exchanges with the zone leaders. that was fun, but i'm
not a big fan of exchanges especially when it takes me out of my area.
you never know what's gonna happen while you're gone. plus you have to
explain why suddenly there's this new guy and it's just a mess. but
it was still fairly fun. i'm glad to be back in sibu jaya, but who
knows for how long? not me. i hope for a while. i'm not gonna lie, my
last week wasnt that spectacular, so i'm sorry if i dont have much to
say. i'm not exactly feeling the happiest i've ever felt. maybe in a
week or two i'll explain what i mean by that. but anyways, know that i
love you. i hope you feel better.
love, zac

hey ma.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! woo! what a fun time. i hope you got everything that you wanted. it's all right over here in malaysia. the foods pretty good. we dont get fed too often. there are a few people who like to feed us, but most of the time we just get crackers and juice. sometimes you get really weird juice flavors, like corn, yam and rose. luckily here i havent had to force down to much of the corn and yam. what a nightmare that is. but i'm not sure if i can eat the beak of a chicken head. the rest of the head is bad enough. the skin all on the skull just peels of and is so nasty. but the dog was pretty delicious. i'm telling you, you should try it. you might be surprised. that's crazy about john and his apartment. luckily it's pretty safe here. so are the missionaries pretty cool in the ward? it's weird for me to think about home ward missionaries now that i am a missionry. this week was a little hectic. we had a really good turn out at church, so that's really exciting. we'll have to wait and see on the baptisms. we're starting to get a lot of people who are close. i'll let you know how it goes. but i should probably get. love you mom.
love, zac

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A whole week with no rain


to me
show details 6:32 PM (2 minutes ago)

hey dad
i didnt realize you had written me! what a pleasant surprize. yeah
mom's new glasses look nice. it's a good change. i'm sorry to hear
about your school. kids can be pretty stupid sometimes. we ride on the
bus sometimes when lots of school kids are heading home, and there are
plenty of kids that would be like that if they were in america.
sometimes, i just want to smack the kids here for being stupid. but
i'm a missionary now, and i cant. T_T

so what did you have your students give a presentation on? is it
french one, or which level? that sounds like a lot of fun. you always
try to convince people that you are really old, but i remember when i
was in school, i had plenty of teachers waay older than you. i'm sure
the students think it's funny tho.

yeah, i had heard about the earthquake from passing strangers, but
what i didnt hear about is when this alan character went to chile. but
luckily for me, malaysia is nice and safe from things like that.
things are going here just like normal. but it has been really super
hot for the past week or so. no rain. what is this? but i guess it's
something i'll have to get used to.

i told you and mom about pretty much my whole week in the last letter
i sent, so i'm sorry if you feel this is a little short. but, i guess
i'll talk a little more. we have this less active member who moved
from town out to sibu jaya, and we talked with her a little bit. for
some reason, she's been shy to meet us and doesnt want to talk, but we
recently met with her husband and he seems pretty interested in the
church. he read a bit from the book of mormon and said he wants to
follow it and go to church. so we'll see how that goes on sunday.
we're hoping that it will bring his wife back to chruch as well. it's
nice to know that the Lord is on our side. anyways, i gotta get outta
her. pday fun awaits! haha love you dad.
love, zac

Zachary Hill

to me
show details 5:55 PM (41 minutes ago)

hey mom and dad
things are going really well here. well, about the pictures.. yes those are coconuts, and the man in the tree was a less active member that we visited one day when i was still in kuching. fresh cocnut's an interesting thing. but yeah, the picture of the river is off of one of the biggest bridges here in sibu. i'm not going to lie, i dread riding up it every time. but it gives a pretty nice view. maybe next time we're out there i'll take a pic of the bridge itself if i remember. it's huge.

a few times a week, we find ourselves on a bus for one thing or another. and it's nice, because there's usually people who are willing to talk, and it's usually how i found out about things that are going on in the world. most people are too shy to talk to us first, because they think we only speak english. but the other day, this random lady just started speaking to me in malay on the bus out of no where and asked if i had heard about the earthquake in chile. i told her i had a friend there. it's good to hear he's all right, but i would like to know, since when has there been a Filoteo boy in chile? i'm starting to think there are lots of things you guys neglect to tell me. and this is especially after dad's "nothing happened" email last week. it was pretty funny tho.

anyways, so i guess i'll tell you a little bit about my week. well, we were going to have a baptism this upcoming saturday, but then we found out our investigator is moving to a city called kota kinabalu in a malaysian state called sabah. luckily we have missionaries close to where he'll be living, so he should be baptized there next week. we've got some really good families that we have been working with. there's this one 21 year old kid who is pretty sweet. it's nice because he just understands the stuff that we teach him. we'll have to see how fast he can quit smoking before we can determine when he can be baptized, but we've set a goal for the end of march. i'm excited for him. also, we got a shop lot for church so we dont have to meet in a house any more. it's nice. over half of our attendance at church last week came from investigating families, so we're really excited. the work is starting to pick up. we've been working hard, but having a lot of fun too. a few days ago, we were on our way to go see someone and as we passed this block of apartments, we could see some crazy get together happening. and ibans, being the fun friendly people that they are, called us over. it happened to be the dinner after a wedding that had just happened. we only stayed for like 20 minutes, but that was enough time for them to feed us til it was hard to move, talk our ears off, and have us make fools of ourselves by trying to imitate one of their native dances. each of these flats have 4 floors with guard rails, and each floor was just packed with people watching. what a fun 20 minutes. and the best part is, now everyone knows my name. i can hardly go anywhere without people yelling out "hello, bukit!" also, among the foods i've tried this week are chicken head and dog. chicken head i'd rather not eat again, because they have you crunch through the skull and everything. (real men eat the beak) but dog was pretty delicious.

anyways, i'm glad to hear about your glasses. dont feel too bad about being 53. most women here who are 53 look like they are about 70. you look good. so, i should probably get. talk to you next week.
love, zac