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