This last week was pretty good, but by far the best part was calling all of you! That was definitely the highlight of my week and it's been a pretty good Christmas week over all.
This last Monday we had a really fun P-Day activity when we were able to go to an Escape Room (it was so awesome we almost want to do it again today). It was Da Vinci Code themed, meaning we had to solve puzzles that gave us codes to open doors using colors, pictures, numbers, letters and patterns (sometimes all in one puzzle). It was way hard, and we accidentally placed the wrong code into the last door, causing a 1 minute delay that prevented us from finishing in an hour. It was the best P-day thing I've done in a long time (in SIbu it was only Rugby).
That night we visited the 1st councellor's family, Bro. Pelima and his wife and daughter. That was the beginning of a long stream of Christmas visits that lasted all Tuesday and Wednesday. We literally met with probably 20 families, sharing brief messages (Usually Alma 7: 11-13). It was exhausting, but fun.
Thursday morning we called! Yay! The rest of that day was parties at various member houses, including President Changai's house, and a member brought us out to Brother Beliang's house!
President Main's counsellor, President Arrow, invited everyone for an American Christmas party (he's rich enough to afford it). It was a great time, but almost distracting as all it was was AMAZING FOOD and people watching movies. We got to talk a lot though, that was really fun. We met with Sofia, a girl that contacted herself and this last Sunday brought us to meet her family. It was a little awkward as the uncle, the only male there, left a little after we started. We finished the lesson teaching through the doorway, mostly focusing on the identity of God and prayer.
Sunday night we had a lesson with Sundau, a convert of some years already. Her nonmember husband had said we could meet him that day earlier in the week, but that night he didn't want. He still let us in though because it was raining. We met with her anyway, finding that she had still held strong on pure faith although her children had fallen away from the church. She prayed for them all daily. We decided that this week before fast Sunday we would all pray for her family daily, and fast together at the end of the week. She is a very touching example to all of us.
Hello Family! Sorry, after this email we'll be switching to a better kedai, this is all I can to here. If it's too late, just go to bed, we'll be talking more this week! (Was there a mission prep this week?)
Anyway, this week was a pretty bitter sweet one. Finally leaving Sibu after 9 months was not tear jerking but not easy. I gave Merang's family the Bible Video DVD, they well appreciate that.
Anyway, I flew out Wednesday morning to my new area, Stampin, Kutching (Kutching means 'cat' in Malay). Elder Poppleton was in my M.T.C. group, but I haven't seen him since then. He was in the Navy before the mission, planning to join the army after he returns, and is famous in the mission for being a really funny guy. It's been a blast working with him so far, and this area is much easier to work in then my last one. I'll be focusing on self motivation, now that I realize how much the refiners fire was keeping me stoked up in Sibu. Here is the first area I've had with all four borders outlined! The branch is great so far, President Changai is the President and he is a very nice and insightful man. Elder Poppleton was telling me that his previous companions didn't really enjoy biking, weekly planning or companionship study, but he wants to do all of those. It's been a busy couple days. I still don't know the people very well yet, but we have been working with some less actives including Elder Beliang's older sister Josephine. She seemed really excited to hear how he was doing, and it was a good experience to meet her. Other people include some recent converts and less actives, including Sister Bia and Sister Durina. They both have reportedly been on the upswing recently. A miracle was finding a potential in the form of a man named Ambrose, a inactive Roman Catholic who lives in some flats across from a less active member, Sister Rosie.
It's been a good week though, felt nice to get to bed early on Sunday for once, love you so much! Talk to you later this week! -Elder Christensen
This last week has torn out my heart, burned my mind, and taught me of the goodness of God. He is truly the greatest Goodness we can know.
Zone conference was amazing. I was especially touched by the messages on love for the individual and especially for the members that we serve with. Christmas is a resource I've been taking too long to tap into.
Kanyan's family has outright rejected us this last week. It was and still is a huge burden on my heart and mind as they were the first family that I have taught and baptised. I have now been in Sibu long enough to watch them fall, while another Merang's family has become one the strongest in the Branch. It's been slowly getting harder to meet with them, but this week they literally hid from us until we left. Thinking of Zone Conference, we went and rigged up a Christmas Present with the stockings from my package, we hope that will help, and we also Sis. Madeline still meets with them who said she could take us back today. We hope that will happen. The Sacrament took on a strong healing effect for me this last week for many reasons, but that was one of them.
We had a lot of rejection this last week, especially from our potentials, which I guess I had just gotten too comfortable with people just accepting our message because it's been so miraculously easy for the last transfer or two. Several potentials were either anti'd by their Roman Catholic Minister or just rejected us outright. One even called us, refused to talk to us, and told us to come back and take back the Kitab Mormon. We did end up giving it to her relative though.
Kelvinson and Ignatius have been doing great, but Kelvinson just happened to be circumcised the day of the Branch Christmas Party, which was absolutely a blast. It went really well, David Kong rehearsed a nativity, the Elders reenacted the Restoration story, and dancing and singing was fun.
Oh yeah, I opened all my presents early, sorry about that. The Bible Video dvd has been one of the greatest proselyting tools ever invented. Thank you so much! We've already disected the candy and stuff for other people. Sister Ella has been struggling too, and we also gave her a stocking gift thingamabob.
The week ended with a great miracle though. Last night after praying for guidance to find a priesthood strengthening family that wants to learn, we searched for a couple hours. Fruitless, we started heading home to find a moto accident on the side or the road. We asked some Police officers on the side of the road what happened, and started a gospel conversation. They were both Christian, live across the street from the Church, and after giving one of them a Kitab Mormon the other asked for one as well. I gave him my personal copy.
Thank you for the prayers, they were desperately needed.
This week was a very fast one for me, but a lot of things happened, so here we go!
Monday we purchased the Quran in malay, but I won't be opening it until after the mission (I don't believe the 1st presidency has approved it. Mostly we slept after that though. District meeting went very well, we took the story of Ammon in the Book of Mormon as a case study, using the quote 'the more things change, the more things stay the same as a theme to see what still applied to us as a mission after all the differences. I mostly came down to the essential nature of the Spirit and Spiritual preparation.
Wednesday and Friday were both days of District Leader exchanges, Wednesday I went with Elder Weston to his area and had a good time of it. We met our Primary President, Sister Airine, who was a convert from the Roman Catholic church and one of the strongest members in our branch. She had a great story of the 8 months of investigating it took, and how a member had helped her make the choice, which gave me a lot of insight and hope for Jerry. Whenever his next meeting is, we need Bro. Kong to come.
Also, we found an Iban shop with native swords for 100 ringgit, and they were playing a C.D. of classic Christian hymns all done with native instruments for 35 ringgit. I really want to get that C.D.
Friday, Elder Liddle came here to our area and Elder Beliang went with Elder Jahali (two Iban Elders together, ooo bahaya!). Elder Liddle said that they had some former investigators move to our area, and we were able to find them. Telajan and Catherine are a young couple, Catherine had learned about the church in Kutching, and they are awesome. They hope to attend church this next week as they live within walking distance.
Other then that, Kelvinson and Ignatius's relatives are still amazing. They referred us to their friend, Sister Mary, an inactive member of the Roman Catholic variety for 8 years who was very apprehensive of her standing before God. We promised her that she could ask God herself what he thought of her, and shared the Joseph Smith story to prove it. We really hope and pray for her, as she owns a van that could take all of the relatives to church.
Well, I'm wearing a gang shirt that Brother James gave me, and we are leaving for Zone Conference in a couple hours! Love you all!