Wednesday, January 26, 2011

an interesting week

hey dad

thanks for everything you did and do for me. it was no big deal. i just had to put that i didnt attend institute, since i guess i never really did. i had no idea about the paying or the test thing. oh well. no use worrying about it now. hopefully i can still get into byu. if not, things will still work out.

so how was the week dad? how's school going? can you believe how fast time is flying? the school year is just ticking away. i remember when i was still in school time felt like it went so slow.

but man, the work is going so well here dad. i'm so pumped. we've just been getting lots of referrals, lots of peoples friends and they've been coming to church. we had 20 investigators at church last week. that was awesome. lots of people changing their lives to be more like christ. my companion and i have really been working at becoming better teachers and servants of the lord and it has really been paying off. plus it is really fun. i can see why you decided to become a teacher after the mission. my only fear is of getting transferred before all these people get baptized, but if that happens, everything will still be all right.

i love being here in malaysia. people are pretty crazy. i wish you guys could see it. maybe you'll just have to settle for my stories. anyways, gotta run. i love you dad. keep being awesome.

love, zac

hey mom

well, it's been an interesting week. my area has been dong really well. elder simon and i have been working well together to turn things around here, and the work has been taking off. so, everything is looking good for ah chai and shelly's baptism this saturday. i'll let you know how that goes. we're really excited. they are excited too.

well, somehow we've been finding lots of investigators that are just willing to come to church. our building was pretty full on sunday. enough to merit the comment of our second counsellor that went something like this "holy moly there's a lot of people here!" it was awesome. and then he told everyone to give us more referrals. so we talked to a few people after church and it seems like we should have some good referrals coming up in the next few weeks. just trying to figure out when we can meet them all.

we went to singapore this week for a visa run. visa runs used to take up 3 days, but they changed it to a one day thing. we'll see how that goes. but at least we only had to be out of our area one day. we'll have splits with some boys in the ward to make up for the time.

but the people here are awesome. next week katty and her family will be baptized, along with ramas and dickson. lots more to come. lots of people starting to be taught. i think its crazy as a missionary tho how we can balance everything somehow. all these people are pretty busy slaving their lives away with work, and somehow we can find the time to get them prepared for baptism. it taks a lot of work and a lot of thinking. i've never planned so much in my mission as i am planning now. i feel like i'm finally starting to understand how to do missionary work well. thining about my investigators more and planning more for them. it's awesome.

anyways, i'm sorry for what happened with desiree mom. please dont give up. if you can find a way to contact her again, encourage her to go to church, no matter what time it is. find a ward that fits with her schedule and go. it doesnt matter as long as she is going to church. that's what's important. plus, i'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for you yet to do missionary work mom. just keep your eye peeled and things will go well. if you have any fears or concerns, just email me and we'll talk.

anyways, i have to go soon. one last thing. you said you have a missionary in the ward from west malaysia? no one told me anything about him. where is he from? what's his name? what's his story? tell me everything you can, i'd love to hear it. also, what race is he?

anyways, another week of almost no email time.i guess i'll let you go and we'll chat next week. have a good one. i love you mom.

love, zac

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

well, it was pretty crazy

hey dad

how's it going? things are going pretty well here in malaysia. we had an awesome week. well, it was pretty crazy because I wasn't even in my area for church. we all went to sibu on saturday for mission tour. elder pratt from the seventy gave us a training. it was pretty good, but way stressful not being there at church with investigators. we had some people not show up, but for the most part, our investigators came. we've got a large group of people that we're teaching now, and they're like all progressing, so it's pretty awesome. we're way excited and the baptisms are on the way. ah chai had another set back. he has school on the day we scheduled him to be baptized, so we'll have to change his date to the 29th, so we're hoping that'll happen.

my application for byu is going well. the only thing i need is the transcript for institute. were you ever able to get ahold of the people or the transcript? once i get that, my application will be finished and hopefully all will go well. then i can relax. wee.

anyways, i dont have much time left. just got my essays done. sorry this is so short. it's good to hear from you. i'll let you know all about what's going on here next week.
love, zac

hey mom

i feel like the soap box is where i belong. i'm turning into one of those old preachers. i could probably give and hour long sermon! nah just kidding, but it is kind of fun to have a bunch of people crowd around and be interested in what you are saying. my mission has been so awesome so far. i really do wonder what the people here think of me tho. people really seem to enjoy lessons and the conversations we have, but i'm pretty sure i seem crazy to them. almost no one can believe when we show up to their house soaking wet. lately it's been happening a lot. and the people are like "whoa i thought you wouldnt show up since it's raining!" it makes them feel special that we would fihgt the rain to meet with them.

let's see, last week some other elders in the zone that share our same building had a baptism, so we brought some investigators. we had 7 come, and it was awesome. they were really excited about baptism after that. this one girl told us she couldnt wait. we brought katty's family and jidy's family.

katty has the two kids who are smart. they are bidayuh. theyve been asking questions that i've never heard other people ask. they actually think about what we are teaching them. so it's been pretty awesome. also, i was asking them about a few words in the bidayuh language, so they got a notebook and decided to make a hand made dictionary of bidayuh for me. so that was pretty sweet. they are awesome. it'll be sad to get transferred.

jidy's family is also doing well. everyone seems pretty excited about church, but jidy had some political function so they werent at church. i couldnt believe it. ive never heard of anyone in malaysia involved in politics, but i guess it happens. they invited us over to dinner last night, and it was delicious. they were really excited to have us over. i love this family so much. such nice and genuine people.

we also had quite a few other families come to church. we wont have a baptism this week, but in the next few weeks afterwards, we should have quite a few. and the best part, is our investigators are giving us referrals, so it looks like we're still just getting more people. sometimes it's stressful keeping everyone in order and making sure we'll be able to meet everyone, but it's good. anyways, gotta run. i'll talk to you more next week.

love, zac

ps, what's this with desiree? she's moving in with her dad? do you nkow anything else about her, like how she joined the church or about her story? just if you feel like next week you dont have anything to write, you could tell me about this. thanks a bunch mom.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

now i know why we couldnt find a turkey for thanksgiving

hey dad

thanks for the link. i'm working on getting that done right now, so not much time to write. had an awesome week, and i'll be back to sibu for the weekend for mission tour. unfortunately we'll be missing church in our own area, so we're a little nervous at what will go on. had some battles with people getting antied but have been having awesome lessons with awesome investigators. getting lots of new people on date for baptism, so this month and next month should be pretty good. our next baptism is looking to be the 22nd, ah chai and shirley if you remember me ever talking about them. sister ing's son and daughter-in-law.

we've been working a lot more on following the spirit and improving our teaching, and i feel like i've come so far from when i left on my mission. just a lot more confident and better at relying on the lord. it's crazy in those situations when you are just unsure what to do how the Lord will give you inspiration. my companion and i have been working well together, and our area is doing well, which usually means i'll be getting transferred soon, so dont be surprised if that happens soon. no word yet, but still makes me nervous. i dont want to leave kuching. haha.

we had a pretty cool pday today. we went with the zone to a crocodile farm about 15km from our house. it was also a tiny (and i mean tiny) zoo. bears, some birds monitor lizards. they also had a turkey. i didnt realize people put those things in zoos, but now i know why we couldnt find one for thanksgiving. shame. got some pics, but the pcs here are still trash. been really busy with work and fun pdays, so ive been neglecting the pictures for you. i apologize and i'll try really hard to send some next week (via snail mail of course)

thanks again dad and i'll talk to you next week.
love, zac

hey mom

man everything i tell people here about my hometown is getting proven wrong. i guess i just dont remember very well. i tell people it doesnt rain, get cold or snow and i hear from various people that all those things have been happening. shame.

anyways, i gave dad kind of "stuff" email. i dont even remember what i wrote, but i'll tell you a bit about the people we've been teaching.

ah chai & shelly: son of a recent convert (sister ing) and his wife. they've been pretty tough to teach in the past, but we kept being persistent in teaching them and they have been coming to church. they should be interviewed for baptism this weekend, and hopefully baptized on the 22nd. i almost never thought they'd reach this point, seeing how tough they were in the beginning, but it's cool to have seen the change come over them. last week, ah chai prayed that God would protect him until he got baptized, which was pretty cool to hear as a missionary. fun couple.

katty's fam: we met them by contacting and they seem way awesome. katty is a single mother with 3 kids and way lonely. so she's been enjoying us bringing various people in the ward over to her house. she's been making some friends, and she told us she had really been missing church before we came. so she came to church last week. her son didnt which was sad, but he promised to come this week. her son and daughter are way smart. well, they really understand the things that we teach them and have good questions. i'm really excited to be teaching them. they all have said they believe God has already answered their prayers, and should be baptized next month.

jidy and serina: the younger brother of the second counsellor in the branch presidency. way awesome guy. really likes what we're teaching him. wants to join and said once he does, he will never leave. his older brother is awesome, so it's not a surprize he is too. jidy looks up to his older brother a lot, and actually quit coffee and tea before we met him because of his older brother's example. the wife is strong rc, so is a little tougher, but she's nice and seems to be coming around.

we've been getting lots of referrals from our recent convert, sister puras. one day she brought us to the market place to contact one, and while we were there, we got surounded by people asking us about us (since they saw us speaking malay with malaysians they got curious) and so we contacted a bunch of people all at once. more soap box preaching from elder hill. pretty fun experience. we actually had 3 people come to church the very next day after we contacted them which was unusual, but cool. maybe we'll have to bring members for contacting at the market more often. so we have two families that we're trying to meet with from puras, both of whom should be at church. but one got antied, so we're not too sure what is going on with her. she still seems happy to see us, has agreed to meet us tomorrow, and said she feels like god told her our church was true (and we didnt put those words in her mouth) so we'll just have to see how it goes tomorrow.
we'll be in sibu for the weekend, so we'll have to rely on the members to tell us which investigators we had come. anyways, i didnt even tell you close to all that happened throughout the week. some not so fun experiences of people not wanting to listen, and also awesome experiences of miracles. just too much to tell! anyways, i gotta run. i love you mom. dont forget to keep bringing desiree to church, even if it's tough at 9. talk to you next week

love, zac

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

a lowly white city boy like myself had no problem

hey dad

i guess i didnt actually send the letter i wrote to you guys last week. it's still in my inbox as a draft. woops! sorry. i apologize. also, were you able to get my transcript information from csn? can you also look up a transcript info from the "Las Vegas West Charleston Institute of Religion" that's the institute i went to, and the application for byu requires me to send in a transcript for institute.. i apologize, but i really have no idea what i'm doing with this application. it's tough to be on a mission and try to apply, but i really do appreciate all the help you've given me already. the only other thing i would need from you guys is to estimate the gross family income for 2010. thanks so much.

anyways, this week has been pretty awesome. i'll try to expalin as best as i can, but i'm really horrible at emails. so i've been seeing the lord's hand in our area quite a bit lately. so last week someone pulled the fire alarm at the church. well, we are on the 5th floor, and someone pulled the alarm on the empty 1st floor. so we, the missionaries, went to go inspect what was going on, since the alarm was disturbing church and malaysians have a tough time handling a crisis. so we went down to the ground floor to look at the fire alarm panel. well, all of a sudden a former investigator who suddenly moved and didnt have a phone showed up and started talking to us. well, we never wouldve seen him except the fire alarm had been puled. so we set an appointment with him to meet at the church, because we still didnt know where he lived. so that made us pretty excited.

so the day came to meet him, and it was rainy and he never showed up. i was pretty bummed. it took a miracle for us to see him, and the poof. gone. so we had a potential investigator listed for the back up plan. we had tried to meet up a few times, but being around christmas and new years, she was always busy (and avoiding us). so it didnt seem like that would go anywhere. we just wanted to go back and see her one last time to see if we could either fix things or drop. we wanted to call her first, but earlier that day we accidentally left our cell phone in another elder's bag. so we figured we would just surprise her. so we went. it was rainy. i was thinking what a horrible situation we were in. we finally arrived, and met the lady, ramas. she immediately started saying how she didnt have time and couldnt meet and that if she wanted to meet later she would call us. in my head, i was just thinking "well, there goes that, i guess" and wanted to give up. it was looking to be a pretty horrible day. but as we sat in silence for a bit, i remembered that when we met her before, she said she was really interested in our message. so i asked her if she had prayed about the things we taught last time and i asked how she felt. she responded by asking us if we wanted a drink, and then followed with a "do you want to come inside?" luckily this time, her husband was also home. so we got to know them a little better and had a lesson with them. it turned out to be a pretty good lesson. we found out that they had been antied but we were able to resolve the concern, and they seemed pretty excited about what we were teaching. so we invited them to come to church, and they came! for all 3 hours! and then the found out one of their relatives is already a member of the church! and we met them after church and had another awesome lesson with them and they are just awesome. so we're pretty excited about them.

also, our area is really looking up. we've been meeting with lots of members, and we're finally starting to reap some of the referrals that we've been sowing. and they've been pretty good. getting lots of new investigators and next week at church is looking to be a big one. we contacted the little brother of the branches 1st counsellor, and he totally looks up to his older brother. he already stopped drinking coffe and tea because the 1st counsellor told him it wasnt good. and he seems like he wants to learn. his wife is pretty strong rc, but she's friendly.

also, the son of one of our recent converts is wanting to get baptized finally after a while of us teaching him. his wife is shirley or if you've ever read my emails about "shelly" same people. malaysians have a funny accent, so the names shelly and shirley are impossible to differentiate.

also, we contacted into a family that seems really good. well, the lady is religious but has never been baptized, and wants to learn more about the gospel. the husband ran away, so she is understandably sad, but the gospel seems to be cheering her up. also, she likes a visit from to white kids. but we brought a member over and they became instant friends and this family seems pretty excited to come to church. we're gonna walk with them the first time they come, hopefully this sunday.

the same member that helped us with the lady mentioned above has been helping us quite a bit lately. her name is puras, a recent convert of ours. she referred some friends from work, and she is so good. she just shares an awesome testimony and helps people get excited for church. one of her referrals seemed really shaky after we invited to come to church. she said she would see later if she had time. then puras shared her testimony (which was in bidayuh so i didnt understand) but right after that, the friend was like "so church is at 11? i'll come" it was awesome.

we've been having a successful few weeks, for which i am very grateful. we hope to keep that success coming and the baptisms will follow shortly. thanks for listening to my ramblings. i do believe that should be all for the week, but we can chat next week. love you dad.

love, zac


i meant to email you last week, but i guess i forgot to push the send button! sorry sorry sorry! what a horrible son i am. but i had a good week. i'm emailing a day early because we have a meeting in sibu for zone leaders, so our pday was pushed to tuesday. please read the email i sent to dad, as it explains the goings on of my week.

anyways, what is your news? let me know what's been going on? how's the member missionary work going? how's church going? how's work? my news is pretty good. we got permission from the president to ride a boat on the river from kuching to sibu. that was pretty fun. we sailed the high seas, and i felt the spray of the ocean on me face. plus, it was cheaper and half the time of a bus ride! there were people throwing up everywhere in the boat tho, which was pretty nasty. luckily they had those funny bags. ive never understood sea sickness. (the boat was pretty rocky at times) but as i was listening to some people gurgle, i had some thoughts. ibans are sometimes called "sea dayaks" and melayus are called "sea people" by the ibans. and yet both of the tribes had people who cant handle the high seas and a lowly white city boy like myself had no problem. shame on them. the boat ride was fun tho. who would've know i would do that on my mission? the air conditioner in the boat was like an ice box tho and felt like death. i cant handle the cold anymore.

well, we're getting the members here in kuching to like us a lot. it's been so much fun. i cant believe how much ive been learnin lately about missionary work, and i wish i knew this stuff at the begininng of my mission. i'm pretty excited for when i get back, so i can help the missionaries in our ward. gotta keep the missionary experiences going. it's so fun to see the gospel change people's lives. what are the missionaries like in our ward right now? what's the ward like? have there been people moving in or out? anyways, i cant think of much else to say. ive got pictures printed that i will send you sometime.. whenever i can find the time to go to the post office. please be patient with me! i love you mom. have a good week and i'll talk to you next time.

love, zac